Citizens Tour the Poultry Industry in Arkansas

16 Jul 2018


Montgomery County citizens traveled to Springdale, Arkansas in June to further explore the poultry industry.  During the two day tour, the group toured the Tyson Research and Development Center, visited a hatchery, a poultry farm and a processing center.  

The R&D Center houses research on a variety of food products both retail and wholesale.  Coffeyville native Shanna (Ward) Motl toured the group and explained her role in the company developing new products that you might see on shelves in your local grocery store.  She discussed the variety of products and pointed out the multiple test kitchens where they prepare and taste-tested products. 

Caption:  Pictured (left to right):  Jim Taylor, Brooke Carroll, Charlotte Scott Schmidt, Josh Roe, Diana Carter, Mike O’Malley, Candi Westbrook, Trisha Purdon, Ryan Thompson, Craig Correll, Mike Shook, Lisa Kuehn, Gary Hogsett and Shanna Motl.  


In the Hatchery, eggs are gathered and incubated to make hatching 2 million chicks possible each week.  All chicks leave the hatchery at one day old and make their trip to the farm on climate controlled trucks.


A local poultry farm in Decatur, Arkansas allowed the group to tour barns that were one-year-old.  The barns were representative of new poultry barns and would be similar to barns that might be constructed in our area.  The farmers use an automated feeding and watering system that reduces waste but also allows the birds 24-hour access to feed and water.  The barns house state-of-the-art technology to control the temperature inside the barns at all times.


“The tour of the Tyson facilities was very informative and interesting,” said Montgomery County Clerk Charlotte Scott-Schmidt.  “At each location, we were given factual information and insight into the complexities of the business.  Being a country person all my life, I was very interested in the barns and the agricultural side of the business.  I was impressed by the state of the art facilities with climate control for each barn being adjusted as the poultry increased in size and the conditions inside the barns.” 


The last step in the tour included a walk through a poultry processing facility and a question and answer session with their management team.  The team explained the technology that is changing what they do and helping their industry meet a growing demand for poultry products.


“Throughout the tour of the Tyson facilities, every plant was very clean and inviting and had a level of automation from conveyors and automatic gates to robotics and x-ray machines that was impressive to see,” said Ryan Thompson, MCAC Board member, and local business owner.  “Beyond how efficient the production plants were the most impressive part of the tour was meeting all different levels of management and team members throughout the facilities. Without any prompting each of them spoke very highly of Tyson as an employer and how Tyson becomes a part of each of the communities that they build in. After seeing these plants first hand I believe Tyson would be a great partner in Southeast Kansas. “


Attending the tour were Montgomery County citizens:  Ryan Thompson, Gary Hogsett, Mike O’Malley, Brooke Carroll, Charlotte Scott Schmidt, Jim Taylor, Mike Shook, Craig Correll, Candi Westbrook, Diana Carter, Trisha Purdon, and Lisa Kuehn. Also joining the group were Kansas Department of Agriculture employees Assistant Secretary Josh Roe and Kerry Wefald.