Tyson Foods depends on independent farm families to supply our plants. Most of our chicken, beef, and pork are raised by Family Farmers. Currently, Tyson Foods contracts with more than 4,200 independent poultry producers who operate 5,285 farms and buys cattle and hogs from more than 6,900 independent producers. The company also has a small number of company-owned chicken farms.

Raising chickens for Tyson Foods can provide a steady source of income for farms that otherwise have to deal with the uncertainty of fluctuating prices for agricultural crops and produce. Our contractual relationships with producers enable many families to remain on farms instead of potentially being forced off by economic pressures. Tyson Foods paid independent domestic poultry producers over $1.4 billion during fiscal years 2011 and 2012. Additionally, we provide farmers with state-of-the-art veterinary support, scientifically formulated feed, and technical assistance, with Tyson Foods’ technical advisors visiting farms typically on a weekly basis. We provide producers with information on sound environmental practices, optimal lighting and ventilation for chicken, and disease control. We also strongly promote animal well-being at all life stages. Above all, we strive to support independent producers in their efforts to run their businesses wisely and to be independent and sustainable enterprises.

Unlike our vertically integrated chicken business, Tyson Foods’ beef and pork operations depend upon independent livestock producers to supply our plants. The plants operated by Tyson Fresh Meats are strategically located near large supplies of high quality cattle and hogs.

To ensure a steady supply of livestock, Tyson Fresh Meats maintains an extensive buying network. Approximately 50 cattle buyers and 90 hog buyers work with independent producers to ensure we have a supply of cattle and hogs that meet the company’s specifications for high quality beef and pork. The company buys millions of cattle and hogs from independent producers in the U.S. each year to ensure a steady supply for our seven beef plants and six pork plants. To purchase cattle and hogs to supply our processing plants, Tyson Foods spent over $27 billion in fiscal years 2011 and 2012. Moreover, Tyson Fresh Meats supports the efforts of independent cattle and hog producers to ensure the livestock they raise are properly handled.

Interested in learning more about commonly discussed topics related to how protein is raised in the U.S.? Check out the following websites and videos.

  • Visit to learn more about topics such as the safety of organic and free-range farm animals versus those raised in modern confinement buildings, and whether the regular use of antibiotics in healthy cows, pigs, and chickens have led to increased antibiotic resistance in humans eating meat products.
  • To learn more about the “poultry and hormone myth,” view the video published by the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association that explains the scientific, economic, and legal reasons hormones are not needed or used by the U.S. poultry industry.
  • Visit Tyson Foods’ Video Room to learn more about what family chicken, cattle, and hog farmers are doing to raise humanely the animals used in our food products, and how chicken farmers work to care for and protect the environment.

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