Arkansas leads the nation in poultry production. Poultry are domestic fowl, such as chickens, turkeys, ducks, ostriches, emus, quail, pigeons, pheasants or geese, raised for meat or eggs. The most common poultry in Arkansas are chickens and turkeys. Chickens that are raised for meat are called broilers, and chickens that are raised for their eggs are called laying hens. Arkansas is home to numerous poultry companies and businesses that support poultry companies and poultry farmers. Most Arkansas chicken and poultry farmers grow their birds on contract for poultry companies such as Tyson Foods or Butterball.
Tyson, which is headquartered in Springdale, is the largest poultry producing company in the world. Though not based here, Pilgrim's Pride Poultry has a major plant in the state as well. Other such businesses located in Arkansas include George's and Cargill in Springdale; OK Industries and Twin Rivers Foods, Fort Smith; North Arkansas Poultry, Rogers; Simmons in Siloam Springs; Butterball, Huntsville; Honeysuckle White (a division of Cargill) in Ozark; and Peterson Farms in Decatur.
Arkansas Poultry Facts
- Arkansas is second in the nation for total pounds of broiler meat produced, yielding over 5.7 billion pounds.
- Arkansas has more than 2,400 broiler farms.
- Poultry is the largest agricultural product in Arkansas, in terms of cash receipts, providing almost 40 percent of the total.
- Poultry production accounts for 1 in 4 agriculture jobs in Arkansas.
- Companies that produce and process chicken in Arkansas employ as many as 37,260 people across the state and generate an additional 70,739 jobs in supplier and ancillary industries. These include jobs in companies supplying goods and services to the industry.
- In 2014 the industry was responsible for as much as $34.89 billion in total economic activity throughout the state, creating or supporting as many as 107,999 total jobs.
- The turkey industry in Arkansas employs as many as 4,154 people across the state and generates an additional 7,857 jobs in supplier and ancillary industries. These include jobs in companies supplying goods and services to the industry.