By the time 1950 rolled around, John Tyson's company was processing about 96,000 broilers a week. His entrepreneurial ideas had caught on, and there were 19 other companies in the area that were providing similar services.
The decade was still young when, in 1952, a young Don Tyson left the University of Arkansas, where he was studying agricultural nutrition. He joined his father's company as a general manager.
Though the business was growing rapidly, a fluctuating market and periodic outbreaks of disease left the poultry industry vulnerable. In fact, Swanson offered to buy Tyson out the very same year that Don joined the company. While John and Don may have briefly entertained the idea of selling out, they talked it over and decided to keep going. By that time, the hatchery was producing 12,000 chicks per week. The back seat was removed from John Tyson's old car, allowing the birds to be transported to the farms. Annual sales were approximately $1 million.
Toward the end of the '50s, John Tyson tried and failed to convince an out-of-state company to build a processing plant in Northwest Arkansas. Knowing he had already purchased the land, Don persuaded his father to let him build the plant at a cost of $75,000. Some months later, and at a cost of $90,000, the plant on Randall Road in Springdale, Arkansas, was finished. Although John was not happy with his son for exceeding the cost estimate, the Tyson company had its first processing plant.