February 7, 2007


And the man behind the brand is...
John Tyson

During the Depression John Tyson sold his first chickens to pull his family through the tough times. In 1935, Tyson purchased 50 “springer” chickens and hauled them from his farm in Arkansas to Chicago to sell at profit. Two years later, he christened his business Tyson Feed & Hatchery.

The company prospered by buying and selling chickens but Tyson was constantly needing to monitor the quality of the chickens he bartered. Gradually he became involved in raising his own chickens. In 1947, the company was incorporated.

In 1952 Tyson’s son Don joined the company as head of operations. The younger Tyson pushed his conservative father into expanding production. Don convince his father to raise rock cornish game hens, a market Tyson would come to dominate.

Tyson took pains to achieve complete vertical integration, opening a processing plant in Springdale, Arkansas in 1958. By the 1960s chicken was becoming a regular visitor to America’s dinner tables; consumption increased fourfold from 1950. A drop in feed-grain prices lured many amateur chicken producers into the industry and the resulting glut caused big price cuts which drove several small companies out of business.

Tyson’s step into increased automation saved the company. In 1963 Tyson took his company public and changed its name to Tyson’s Foods, Incorporated. In 1966, John Tyson and his wife died in an automobile accident, and Don Tyson took over the business as president. The next year he began promoting the corporate name by labeling chicken wrappers with “Tyson Country Fresh Chicken” instead of the supermarket name. Tyson was on its way to being a giant in the poultry industry.

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