Our History

At Tyson Foods, we maintain a strong connection with our past. We believe our past helps inform our future, ensuring the culture that carried us then continues to fortify us now.
John W. Tyson
The 1930s: Early Days

The Tyson Foods story begins during the Great Depression. In 1931, John W. Tyson moves his family to Springdale, Arkansas, in search of new opportunities. He finds them, thousands of them, all feathered and squawking. He begins delivering chickens to larger markets in the Midwest.

1940 — 1949: POST-WAR BOOM
Poultry Farmers
Food Rationing

During World War II, food rationing becomes an everyday reality. Poultry, however, is not rationed, and demand grows fast. John moves into the business of raising chicks and grinding feed for local chicken farmers.

Poultry Delivery by Airplane
Flying Chickens

On April 10, 1946, John has a load of Andy Christy’s New Hampshire Reds delivered by airplane to Fayetteville, a first for Northwest Arkansas. John says later, "I decided early that, if you had the best chicks in the area, you’d have the best customers and get the best results."

Tyson Hatcheries 1947
Incorporation: Tyson Feed and Hatchery, Inc.

John incorporates his growing business as Tyson Feed and Hatchery, Inc., in 1947. The company now provides three essential services: the sale of baby chicks, the sale of feed, and the transportation of chickens to market.

1950 — 1959: EXPANSION AND VERTICAL INTEGRATION
Don Tyson
Don Joins the Company

At 22, Don Tyson, John’s son, joins the company as general manager. "I left the [University of Arkansas] in 1952, and from that day until 1963, the year I took the company public, I worked in the business six days a week and on Dad’s farm on the seventh day."

John and Don Tyson
First Major Expansion

Meatpackers begin to base operations in Northwest Arkansas. In the late 1950s, John offers a parcel of land to a processing company to entice them to build a plant. The deal falls through, and Don convinces John that it is time to build their own processing plant.

Randall Road Plant
First Processing Plant

Originally budgeted at $75,000, John is not happy when his son’s new processing plant goes over budget. Don gets a bank loan to finish construction. At a final cost of $90,000, the Randall Road plant opens in 1958, completing the vertical integration of the company.

1960 — 1969: GOING PUBLIC
Don Tyson Takes the Company Public
Going Public: Tyson's Foods, Inc.

In 1963, Don, now vice president, takes the company public as Tyson's Foods, Inc. Under his leadership, the company begins an odyssey of acquisitions that grows Tyson Foods in every direction.

Tyson offices at work
Vision and Commitment

Don's vision guides the company to fruitful acquisitions and new markets. "Don had an uncanny ability," Leland Tollett would later say. "But the real success of the company is the result of a genuine commitment by Don to 'always take care of our people.'"

Don Tyson
Change and Tragedy

Don becomes president of the company in 1966. In 1967, John W. Tyson and his wife, Helen, lost their lives in a terrible automobile-train accident. Following his father’s death, Don Tyson took his place as chairman and CEO.

1970 — 1979: NEW LOOK, NEW DIGS, SAME VALUES
Settling into the new offices in Springdale
New Corporate Offices

To kick off the decade, team members move into the new corporate offices in Springdale on Oaklawn Drive. We’re still located in the same place today, although a few more buildings have been added and the street name changed to Don Tyson Parkway in 2008.

1970s Logo
Company Name Changes: Tyson Foods, Inc.

In 1972, the company name changes to Tyson Foods, Inc., as we know it today. Along with the name change, we introduced a new look, the Tyson® oval.

Don Tyson pledges outlines commitment to the community.
Commitment to Community

In 1979, Don outlines our commitment to the communities we serve, writing in our annual report: "Tyson Foods believes that, if we don’t take an active part in the community, we won’t deserve a place in it very long."

1980 — 1989: LEAPS AND BOUNDS
Don Tyson 1980s
Tremendous Growth

Despite the struggling economic situation in the early 1980s, Tyson Foods experiences a period of tremendous growth. “We find something we think we can do, focus on it, and then aim to be number one at it.” says Don in the 1986 annual report.

Tyson purchases Mexican Original Inc
Mexican Original Acquisition

In 1983, Tyson Foods acquires Mexican Original, Inc., a flour and corn tortilla processing plant in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

1980s
On the World Stage

By the end of 1989, the company has doubled in size in just five years, becoming the world’s largest fully-integrated producer, processor, and marketer of poultry-based food products. The company also formally organizes its International division with joint ventures in both Mexico and Japan.

1990 — 1999: PASSING THE TORCH
Opening up new markets
Worldwide Markets

Throughout the 1990s, Tyson Foods enters new markets worldwide including countries in Asia, Central America, South America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Rim. By 1991, the company’s international sales offices include Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Canada. In 1995, the company establishes its Moscow office.

Don Tyson and Buddy Wray
Wray and Tollett

Buddy Wray becomes chief operating officer in 1991, and in 1995, president is added to his title. In 1991, Leland Tollett is named CEO, Vice Chairman of the Board in 1993, and then Chairman in 1995.

Don and John H. Tyson
Passing the Torch

By the end of the decade, Don Tyson formally retires, though he remains active in the company and on the Board for many years. John H. Tyson rises to serve as chairman of the board. John H. is the third generation of Tysons to lead the company.

2000 — 2009: BEYOND CHICKEN
John. H Tyson
IBP Acquisition

In 2000, Chairman John H. Tyson is also named CEO. Like his father and grandfather, he begins leading Tyson Foods through another period of dramatic expansion. In 2001, Tyson Foods acquired IBP, inc., becoming the world’s largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef, and pork.

The Discovery Centre
Building a Center of Innovation

The Discovery Center is completed at the Springdale headquarters in 2007. It serves our company, the industry, and our consumers as an unrivaled force of innovation.
 

Donnie Smith Jim Lochner and John h. Tyson
Smith and Lochner

In November 2009, Donnie Smith, a 29-year veteran of Tyson Foods, is named CEO. At the same time, Jim Lochner, a former IBP executive, is promoted to Chief Operating Officer.

2010 — 2019: REACHING OUT AND BRANCHING OUT
Children at Fair
10 Years of Fighting Hunger

In 2010, Tyson Foods marks its tenth year as a partner with Share Our Strength, donating more than 76 million pounds of products to hunger and disaster relief. The partnership is part of our history of fighting hunger in communities across the U.S.

Man by water
10 Years of Sustainability Progress

In July 2014, Tyson Foods marks 10 years of sustainability progress. We remain committed to our five pillars of sustainability: healthier animals, healthier communities, healthier environment, healthier food and a healthier workplace.

Hillshire Retail Brands
Hillshire Brands Acquisition

In August 2014, Tyson Foods, Inc., completes its acquisition of The Hillshire Brands Company, resulting in a company with more than $40 billion in annual sales and a diverse portfolio including brands such as Tyson®, Wright®, Jimmy Dean®, Ball Park®, State Fair®, and Hillshire Farm®.

Tom Hayes
Hayes Named CEO

Tom Hayes is named President & CEO of Tyson Foods in December 2016. Tom is a veteran of the consumer products industry and also served as Tyson Foods chief customer officer.

Aidells Burget
AdvancePierre Foods Acquisition

In April 2017, Tyson Foods announces the acquisition of AdvancePierre Foods. The move expands our portfolio of prepared foods and protein-packed brands.

Justin Whitmore
Whitmore Named Chief Sustainability Officer

Justin Whitmore becomes the very first Chief Sustainability Officer for Tyson Foods in May 2017. The role is introduced along with a new purpose and strategy that places sustainability at the center. “This is a company I know and respect,” says Whitmore, “I'm excited to contribute to its strong legacy of leadership as we take on the challenge of global food sustainability.”

Noel White
White Named CEO

Noel White is named President & CEO of Tyson Foods in October 2018. Noel was group president of beef, pork, and international.

Keystone Plant
Keystone Acquisition

In November 2018, Tyson Foods completes acquisition of Keystone Foods, a leading supplier of chicken, beef, fish and pork to the growing global foodservice industry.

Tyson Foods Logo Blue
International Acquisitions

In February 2019, Tyson Foods announces an agreement to acquire Thai and European Operations from BRF S.A., including processing facilities in Thailand, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, to expand offerings of value-added protein in global markets.