2018 Sustainability Report

Responsible Ingredient Sourcing

We are committed to sourcing quality ingredients from suppliers and upholding transparent supply chain practices.

Sourcing Ingredients Responsibly

We work closely and proactively with strategic procurement partners to leverage responsible practices in our commodities and ingredient supply chain. We invest billions each year in commodities and ingredients needed to run our day-to-day operations. We procure agricultural commodities such as wheat, corn, rice, soy, dairy and vegetables, as well as ingredients that advance food safety, enhance flavor profiles and protect product integrity such as our own proprietary technologies that extend shelf life.

Our trusted ingredient suppliers are committed to the same high level of food safety and ingredient quality as we are. Suppliers are required to comply with regulations and standards relevant to their operations as set forth by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA), including compliance with Good Manufacturing Practice and implementation of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points programs. Our suppliers must also be certified by GFSI.

Good ingredients Veggies

Tyson pickup truck with feed silos

Supply Chain Transparency

Supply chain visibility is critical to the effective and sustainable management of both our domestic and international supply chains. We purchase all of our feed ingredients from domestic suppliers, in an effort to support U.S. farmers and businesses. The remaining ingredients are sourced from various locations across the globe. International suppliers are subject to the sourcing regulations and policies of their home country as well as U.S. food safety regulations.

In 2018, we began piloting the of use blockchain technology in our supply chain management systems to increase traceability of raw materials.

Jonathan Fox portrait
Preserving Land for the Next Generation, Together

Keeping the “Family Farm” Alive

We are proud to partner with family farms like Fox Family Holdings LLC that help ensure our chickens are fed the best grain possible. Fox grows corn in three south central counties in Kentucky and has been a corn supplier to Tyson Foods since late 2014. The farm sells more than 90 percent of its corn to us, at an average of 80,000 bushels of corn annually.

Jonathan Fox is the sixth generation of his family to work the land in Kentucky. His mother, sister and nephews all lend a hand on the farm as needed, making this a true family farm. He makes sure to expose his young nephews to life on the farm as much as possible. “I farm with them in mind,” he says. This is what being a sustainable farmer means to him – leaving the land better than he found it so that future generations can have the same opportunity afforded to him by his father to farm the land.

In the late 2000s, south central Kentucky went from a corn deficit to a corn surplus region, forcing Fox to sell and haul most of its grain to facilities several hours away in surrounding states. Today, the farm delivers its corn locally to our feed mill in Albany, Kentucky.

“When Tyson opened its feed mill in Albany, it opened up the local market for us again. Now, I can spend more time on the farm with my family instead of long hours in the truck hauling grain out of state,” says Jonathan. In addition, “the Tyson Local Grain Services App has completely transformed how I market and keep records of my corn sales. Everything can be handled from a smart phone in a matter of seconds. And the ability to market a year in advance gives me a competitive edge regarding grain pricing that other producers may not have. The entire process of selling my crop was improved and simplified with the Tyson App. We really appreciate what Tyson has done for south central Kentucky.”

Jonathan ran the farm with his father for many years, splitting duties 50/50. When his father passed away suddenly, he found himself faced with the pressure of taking over full responsibility of the farm and decided to maximize efficiency. By updating old harvest equipment, replacing existing planters with larger ones, experimenting with new corn hybrids, and developing other systems, he secured the farm’s survival.

Today, Fox family farm is a pioneer in sustainable farming practices in the region, including participating in a USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service cover crop program to sustain soil in the winter and prevent runoff; always operating as a “no till” farm, or direct seeding without plowing; maintaining soil test plots to ensure optimal soil health; conducting water testing to ensure no leaching into local waterways; as well as implementing USDA Farm Service Agency buffer strips and pollinator habitats to control air, soil and water quality.

Jonathan Fox and Son

Tyson Local Grain Services

We’re committed to keep local grain local within our supply chain. We actively build resources for and relationships with grain farmers who provide locally grown corn for our birds, through our Local Grain Services (LGS) program. LGS increases the number of farmers who sell direct, while decreasing supply chain inefficiencies and waste – a win-win for our grain suppliers and our business.

In 2018, we purchased over 65 million bushels of corn and 11 million bushels of soybeans and wheat directly from local farmers, a significant increase from the 44 million bushels of corn purchased in 2017. Our ability to source more locally grown grain for our poultry feed was due in part to the acquisition of five grain elevators, which let us begin buying farmer-direct soybeans and wheat. In addition, we launched an on-farm pickup program that provided logistical support for farmers to sell more grain directly to Tyson LGS.

In 2018, LGS also expanded its community engagement to support education and resource programs for local grain farmers. The includes connecting with local farmers to support them in establishing sustainable farming practices. LGS works independently and closely with our sustainability team to partner with NGOs and commodity associations that are driving sustainability practices on the farm level.

Our website and mobile platform have been revitalized with more opportunities for engagement with local farmers in local communities. The website now offers weekly market commentary for farmers and opportunities to sponsor and partner with organizations benefiting local grain farmers.

The ability to survey farmers about sustainability through the app and website has resulted in increased interest in participating in a program with Tyson. In 2018. LGS offered a voluntary survey for farmers to share their sustainability practices, as well as their ideas and needs for becoming more sustainable farmers. More than 200 farmers took the survey and shared their sustainable farming methods, including cover crops, no-till, and soil tests. Farmers showed interest in implementing the following practices on their farms: cover crops, soil tests, fertilizer use/application and modified irrigation and tillage. Farmers’ prioritize nutrient management, soil health and land stewardship on their own farms. The results from this survey have contributed to Tyson’s land stewardship pilot programs, and will potentially influence optional sustainability programs offered to farmers who sell their corn to Tyson.

Grains of wheat

Nursing piggies profile pic
Creating Continuous Value

Brady Reicks
Lawler, Iowa

As fifth-generation pork producers, Reicks View Farms has learned what happens when everything is connected. The business is vertically integrated: the family farms 12,000 acres of corn, operates a feed mill and manages 50,000 sows farrow to finish. The Reicks also transport their own products to and from customer sites.

In between, the Reicks manage their pigs’ entire growth cycle, from breeding to gestation and farrowing, or birth. Piglets remain with their mothers for several weeks, then are transferred to a nursery where they are weaned from milk to a solid-food diet. They are then transported to a finishing farm where they grow to desired weight.

“Over the years, we’ve learned to make better use of our resources,” says Brady Reicks. “Before the 1970s my Dad would say that we didn't fully appreciate the value of manure. Now we know it’s a great natural fertilizer. The manure our pigs produce is just enough to fertilize our feed corn, which in turn provides food for our pigs. Applying it to our fields with current injection technology helps ensure that the nutrients are utilized efficiently, and it reduces our fertilizer cost."

“We’ve got our own little ecosystem here, and it works.”

Reicks Family Profile