Our Story

The story of Tyson Foods is rooted in hard work, humility, and the purpose to feed a growing world and continually raise expectations for how much good food can do.

From humble beginnings in Arkansas, United States, to one of the worlds largest food companies and a recognized leader in protein, the journey to becoming a leader in the food industry hasn’t always been easy. But, our successes have always eclipsed our challenges and they continue to inspire us as we embrace the challenges and responsibilities of feeding a changing world. Tyson Foods was founded in 1935 by John W. Tyson and grew under three generations of family leadership.

At Tyson Foods, our priority is to make high-quality proteins accessible to all – anywhere in the world. Throughout the 1990s, Tyson Foods entered new markets worldwide through joint ventures and sales offices. By 2019, the company’s acquisitions and joint ventures expanded its international presence in China and India to include APAC, East Asia, South America and Europe, giving the company access to demand through in-country production, as well as exports to global markets.

Tyson Europe Feeding the world with purpose
Feeding the world with purpose

We’re passionate about food. We believe food is more than sustenance, it’s a vehicle for good. As we continue to grow, we’re embracing our responsibility to drive positive change, solve problems, and make the world a little better every day. Learn about the values that are key to who we are with greater transparency into everything we do.

TYSON FOODS AT A GLANCE

$43.2 Billion

Sales, Fiscal Year 2020

1 in 5
pounds

of chicken, beef, & pork in the U.S.
is produced by Tyson Foods

139,000
Team Members

on September 29, 2020

 
 
 
WHERE WE CAME FROM

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.

The 1930s Early Days
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.

Timeline
1940 - 1949
1940 - 1949:
POST-WAR BOOM

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. In 1947 John incorporates his growing business as Tyson Feed and Hatchery, Inc.

1950 - 1959
1950 - 1959:
EXPANSION & VERTICAL INTEGRATION

Meatpackers begin to base operations in Northwest Arkansas. Don and John decide that it is time to build their own processing plant. At a final cost of $90,000, the Randall Road plant opens in 1958, completing the vertical integration of the company.

1960 - 1969
1960 - 1969:
GOING PUBLIC

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.

1970 - 1979
1970 - 1979:
NEW LOOK, NEW DIGS, SAME VALUES

To kick off the decade, team members move into the new corporate offices in Springdale on Oaklawn Drive. 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.

1980 - 1989
1980 - 1989
LEAPS AND BOUNDS

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

1990 - 1999
1990 - 1999:
PASSING THE TORCH

Throughout the 1990s, Tyson Foods enters new markets worldwide including countries in Asia, Central America, South America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Rim. By the end of the decade, Don Tyson formally retires. John H. Tyson rises to serve as chairman of the board.

2000 - 2009
2000 - 2009:
BEYOND CHICKEN

In 2000, Chairman John H. Tyson is also named CEO. In 2001, Tyson Foods acquired IBP, inc., becoming the world’s largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef, and pork. In November 2009, Donnie Smith, a 29-year veteran of Tyson Foods, is named CEO.

2010 - 2019
2010 - 2019:
REACHING OUT AND BRANCHING OUT

In August 2014, Tyson Foods completes its acquisition of The Hillshire Brands Company. In April 2017, Tyson Foods announces the acquisition of AdvancePierre Foods. In November 2018, Tyson Foods completes the acquisition of Keystone Foods, and in February 2019. Tyson Foods announces an agreement to acquire Thai and European Operations from BRF S.A.