About Us

Fresh Keepers Tilapia Producers CooperativeFresh Keepers Cooperative, Inc. is a cooperative recognized by the State of North Carolina. Fresh Keepers is a group of five tilapia fish producers who band together to market their fish. Together their strengths weave a strong rope of knowledge, experience, marketing, logistics, and networking.

Fresh Keepers biggest advantage is the free sharing of information among cooperative members. Each member is diverse in their individual business. Aquaculture, producing tilapia, is the commonality. Cohesiveness has emerged from this commonality to make Fresh Keepers a viable entity. Decision making is thoroughly discussed until a general consensus is formed and voted upon. Fresh Keepers is very fortunate to have such qualified, insightful, and honest members, making this Cooperative an important presence in the North American tilapia industry.

Fresh Keepers Officers

  • President: Dale Pridgen

Dale Pridgen owns DPK, Inc. and has produced tilapia for fourteen years. Dale is the President of Fresh Keepers Cooperative Incorporated. He is a contract turkey grower for Butterball LLC. He is on the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Aquaculture Association. Dale serves on the North Carolina Southeast District Aquaculture Advisory Leadership Committee and serves on the North Carolina Aquaculture Advisory Committee for cost share assistance from North Carolina Soil and Water Conservation.


  • Vice President: Johnny McLawhorn

Johnny McLawhorn owns Triple M Farms, located in Hookerton, North Carolina. Triple M is a family-owned farm with almost all members being part of the operation. Johnny has produced tilapia for fifteen years. He is the Vice President of Fresh Keepers. Johnny attended North Carolina State University. He produces row crops of tobacco, cotton, wheat, corn, and soybeans. He produces cattle and is a contract hog producer with Murphy Brown LLC. Johnny is active in the Scuffleton, NC fire department and Little Creek Church. He also serves as a Board Member of the Tobacco Trust Fund, an appointment by the Governor of North Carolina, and member of the Cattlemen’s Association. Johnny is active with Farm Bureau Federation and is a thirty-two degree Master Mason.


  • Marketer: Spencer Dean

Spencer Dean owns TS Dean Farms, located Louisburg, North Carolina. Spencer has produced tilapia for eighteen years. Spencer has a BS degree in agronomy from North Carolina State University. He is a third generation farmer in Franklin County, NC. Spencer utilizes wastewater from the tilapia operation to produce hay for cattle production. With years of experience working with buyers throughout the country, Spencer is a huge asset as the Marketer for Fresh Keepers. He has a vast experience in tilapia production from brood stock to harvest. As a Deacon and youth leader, he is active in the Cedar Rock Baptist Church. He is also active with the local fire department.


  • Secretary and Treasurer: Kathy Pridgen

Kathy Pridgen is both the secretary and treasurer for Fresh Keepers. Kathy graduated from Lenoir Community College with a degree in Medical Office Technology. She is also the Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer of DPK Inc. Kathy has various office management and computer program skills, including the Quick Books Program used by Fresh Keepers for accounting.


  • Member: Clip Brock

Cliff (Clip) Brock owns Brock Farms of Winterville, North Carolina. Clip has produced tilapia for fourteen years. Clip is a row crop farmer, mostly producing soybeans and grain sorghum. He is a former tobacco producer who diversified into tilapia production.


  • Member: Randy Gray

Randy Gray owns Circle G Farms of Goldsboro, North Carolina. Randy has produced tilapia for twelve years. Randy is a contract poultry producer for Case Farms and contract hog producer for Goldsboro Milling Company. He also produces beef cattle and is a member of the Wayne County Cattleman’s Association. In addition to Circle G Farms, Randy is the current President of the North Carolina Aquaculture Association, Fire Chief of Faro Fire Department, and past President of the Wayne County Fireman’s Association. He also serves as President of the Wildlife Club for the residents of the lake and residential area in which he resides. Randy serves on the Aquaculture Advisory Board for cost share assistance from North Carolina Soil and Water Conservation. He is an advisor with the North Carolina Southeastern District Aquaculture Advisory Leadership Committee and serves on the Planning Board for the North Carolina Aquaculture Development Conference.