As Tyson Foods marks 83 years of doing business in Arkansas, its North Little Rock plant location celebrates 50 years of continuous operation.
“The North Little Rock plant has played a key role in the history and success of our company,” said John Tyson, chairman of the Tyson Foods Board of Directors. “Our purchase of the plant in 1969 marked the start of our production of further-processed chicken, which became the cornerstone of our poultry business. It also enabled us to enter the food service business. I’m proud of our North Little Rock team members and the work they continue to do today to serve our customers.”
The 76,000-square foot facility began operation in April 1968 as part of Prospect Farms, Inc. of North Little Rock, specializing in food service products. Tyson Foods acquired Prospect Farms in 1969 and has operated the plant since.
Products made at the location now include wings, tenders and portioned fillets for national food service customers, as well as raw and breaded livers, gizzards, tenders and wings for national retail customers. Much of the chicken processed at the plant is grown in Arkansas by farmers who contract with Tyson Foods.
Two hundred team members work at the plant. Of those, 34 have 20 years or more in service and another 39 have between 10 and 19 years of service. One team member, Lee “Dagwood” Anderson, has worked at the location for 47 years.
“Our focus on quality food, innovation and, of course, team member safety makes this plant an important link in the total Tyson Foods network,” said Kemal Beach, vice president of value-added operations.
Through its subsidiaries, Tyson Foods operates facilities in 20 Arkansas communities, employing more than 23,000 team members in the state with an annual payroll of more than $1.3 billion. Annual payments to family farmers who grow chickens for the company in Arkansas are more than $260 million. The company estimates its total statewide annual impact, including grain purchases, utilities, property taxes and charitable contributions, to be more than $1.9 billion.