Donnie Smith shares why he quit retirement to lead Foster Farms

Industry News, Member News,

Donnie Smith, CEO of Livingston, California-based Foster Farms, revealed during his keynote address at the National Grain and Feed Association’s (NGFA) 127th Annual Convention that he’s often asked why he resumed his career in poultry five years after retiring as Tyson Foods’ CEO.

“People said, ‘What’s gotten into you? What were you thinking getting back into the chicken business after you already had a 36-year career?’” Smith said. “But once my to-do list from the Covid shutdown was down to three items, I was bored. And there's nothing good about a bored Donnie Smith.”

Smith said farming runs in his blood, and despite a 5-year hiatus, he still had a desire to continue his career in agriculture.

“I've done this for 41 years because I love the chicken business; I love the food business,” Smith said. “So at the end of those five years, I had a hankering to go back and I've always had a great respect for Foster Farms.”

Foster Farms, founded in 1939 by Max and Verda Foster, is one of the nation’s largest poultry producers, specializing in fresh, all-natural chicken and turkey products free of preservatives, additives or injected sodium enhancers. Headquartered in California’s Central Valley, with ranches in the Pacific Northwest, the company’s fresh chicken and turkey are produced in or near each region served.

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