More than four decades spent championing agriculture and positively influencing the poultry industry have earned Wayne Farms’ Elton Maddox a spot in the Greater Hall Chamber and Hall County (Georgia) Cooperative Extension Agriculture Hall of Fame, given each year to an individual making sustained contributions to Hall County agriculture and agribusiness.

Maddox received the award during this year’s Ag Awards Breakfast, presented by Jackson EMC in conjunction with National Agriculture Day.

Poultry industry leadership

A north Georgia native, Maddox grew up working on his family’s chicken farm and served in FFA leadership positions in high school as chapter officer, state officer and recipient of the FFA American Farmer degree. After earning an undergraduate degree in engineering from the University of Georgia, he joined Allied Mills’ Poultry Division, Wayne Farms, which would later become a wholly owned subsidiary of Continental Grain Company and eventually evolve to become Wayne Farms LLC, the seventh largest poultry producer in the nation.

Serving in a variety of management positions over more than four decades with Wayne Farms, Maddox oversaw the transformation of the company from a regional player with a wholesale focus to a national powerhouse producing products for the foodservice, retail and commodities markets. Changing the company’s operating culture along the way, he successfully led across-the-company modernization initiatives, including upgrading production technology and processes, reorganizing and expanding operations through a series of strategic acquisitions and divestitures, and expansion of the company’s Prepared Foods division. Today Wayne Farms is manufacturing partner with some of the nation’s most recognized restaurant, food service and retail brands.

Over the years and paralleling his impact on company advancement, Maddox also wielded significant influence over industry issues as past president of the Georgia Poultry Federation and Georgia Poultry Processors Association, as chairman of the board for both the Georgia Poultry Improvement Association and the National Chicken Council (NCC), and as past chairman of both the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) and USPOULTRY Harold E. Ford Foundation.

He continues to serve in leadership on the board of directors of the NCC and USPOULTRY. A 37-year member of the Poultry Leaders Round Table, he was elected to life membership in 1992 and continues to qualify and serve as an active member.

Faith and personal pursuits

Maddox brings the same degree of dedication to his personal pursuits, with his Christian faith and love of family taking center stage in a life marked by commitment and dedication to causes that impact his fellow man. Married to Claire H. Maddox, he proudly counts three daughters, three son-in-laws, four grandsons and fourteen granddaughters as his family legacy. As church deacon and Sunday school teacher, Maddox has been an active member of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church for more than 35 years.

More than 16 years ago, Claire and Elton founded Cross Training Sports Camps, Inc., with the mission of spreading joy, empowering the powerless, and lifting up the name of Jesus by providing sports camps in impoverished communities, feeding programs and school supplies for street children, job training for single mothers, and support for local churches.  Cross Training camps have touched the lives of children here in the United States and around the world in Africa, Bolivia and Honduras.  In 2009, the Elsie Conde Memorial Sports Camp was started to commemorate the life of baby Elsie, the granddaughter of Claire and Elton, who was born with a congenital heart defect and touched so many lives in the two months she was on earth.  This camp is specifically designed to minister to children with special needs.  In the past eight years, Elsie Camps have served over 3,000 special needs participants and involved well over 300 volunteers.