One of the most powerful men in the world was in rural mid-Missouri over the past weekend.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg visited the Stanton Brothers farm near Centralia, which operates the largest independent free-range egg business in the nation.
Dustin Stanton told Missourinet affiliate KSSZ that a member of Zuckerberg’s staff saw an article about the growing egg company, and reached out.
“Mark has spent this year touring the country and seeing how we think out in these flyover states, and so when they got a hold of the article they really wanted to come visit the farm,” said Stanton.
He said Zuckerberg was looking to connect with influential millennial entrepreneurs and was drawn to the brothers’ business. Dustin Stanton is 25-years-old while younger sibling Austin is in his early twenties.
Dustin noted to KSSZ that Zuckerberg wanted to tap into the thought process of Midwestern people. “We kind of chatted back and forth about business and things of that nature. We got into politics a little bit. So that was interesting. We kind of just talked about how we do think in this part of the country, and why we think the way we think.”
Zuckerberg announced in January he planned to visit and chat with people in every U.S. state. He gave a speech last Friday to a small group of students and staff at the University of Kansas.
Dustin Stanton said the social-media icon was interested in tapping into the thought process of Midwestern people during his visit to the brothers’ farm.
“(We talked about) things like foreign policy, terrorism, economic development. So that was really interesting as well, to get his perspective on that, and he get ours at the same time too.”
The brothers started their egg business as a 4H project in first grade. Zuckerberg was made aware of the Stanton Brothers operation from a 2015 story in the publication The Feast.
According to the magazine, Dustin and Austin lay claim to the largest independent free-range egg business in the nation. The brothers raise 20,000 birds, sell roughly 42,000 eggs a week and farm 400 acres of milo (grain sorghum).
The Feast reported that the eggs can be found at most grocery stores in Columbia: Hy-Vee, Schnucks, Lucky’s Market, Natural Grocers, Clover’s Natural Market, etc. The Stantons also sell to Columbia College and the University of Missouri Campus Dining Services, plus a handful of restaurants in Columbia.
Dustin Stanton told KSSZ the farm serves 50 clients across the region. On his Facebook page, Dustin Stanton Sunday noted he and his brother were greatly honored to host Zuckerberg.
“This was his first time in the state of Missouri, and we were glad he chose to visit our operation and our community on his trip,” Stanton said on Facebook. “We appreciate him taking the time to discuss with us our views on foreign policy, economic development, and the importance of trade. We all three have the same goal of creating a better world for our children and grandchildren.”