Today, the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame announced it will induct five individuals whose leadership and service have brought distinction to the state’s largest business sector, including Mark Simmons, Chairman of Simmons Foods, Inc. & Affiliates.
Sponsored by the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and Arkansas Farm Bureau, the Hall of Fame program recognizes individuals who have brought distinction to the state's largest business sector.
Mr. Simmons has been chairman of the board for Simmons Foods since 1987. He first joined the family business in 1968 after graduating from the University of Arkansas. He was named president in 1974, following the death of his father.
Under his direction, Simmons Foods has grown into one of the nation’s largest privately held broiler-processing companies and the largest private-label wet pet food manufacturer in North American. The company has grown from a single plant with roughly $20 million in sales and 350 employees in 1974 to approximately $1.4 billion in sales and nearly 6,000 employees in more than 20 facilities across North America.
Mr. Simmons was a founding member of the Northwest Arkansas Council, serves on the board of trustees at John Brown University, and is a board member of the Walton Family Charitable Support Trust. He was named Man of the Year in 1990 by the Arkansas Poultry Federation, the 2009 Regional Entrepreneur of the Year in the agri-business category by Ernst & Young, received the Golden Paddle Award from the Illinois River Watershed Partnership, and was inducted in 2013 into the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame.