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Simmons Industries Of Siloam Springs Continues Its Expansion -- Quietly

Simmons Industries Inc. will celebrate 40 years in Siloam Springs this year.

But don't expect any lavish celebrations.

The poultry company has grown quietly through the years and is now the country's 15th-largest broiler producer.

The latest addition to Simmons' holdings is a $7 million feed mill, which was opened last fall in Fairland, Okla. The mill includes a truck maintenance facility, offices and a railroad spur. It features four silos capable of holding 303,161 bushels of grain.

Simmons officials expect the mill to produce 250,000 tons of feed in its first year, about one-fourth of the company's total output.

"We had been buying feed from other producers," says Chairman Mark Simmons. "Now that Fairland has come on, we can produce our own feed."

Simmons has more than 3,000 employees at facilities in five states:

* Siloam Springs and Mena in Arkansas.

* Southwest City, Anderson and Jane in Missouri.

* Jay and Fairland in Oklahoma.

* Altura in Minnesota.

* Albuquerque in New Mexico.

"We expanded beyond our capacity," Simmons says of the company's growth.

Feed produced at Fairland mill will be used in the company's breeding facilities.

One of the world's largest privately owned poultry companies, Simmons has been based in Siloam Springs since 1952 when Bill Simmons, Mark Simmons' father, opened a processing plant there.

The elder Simmons, a Nebraska native and meat packing company manager, joined Denver distributor Frank Pluss in buying a poultry processing plant at Decatur in 1949. The operation was simple. Simmons bought market-ready chickens from surrounding farms and processed them for sale to distributors.

Shortly after construction of the Siloam Springs processing plant, Bill Simmons became the company's sole owner. He pioneered the development of frozen, precooked chicken as well as chicken bologna, chicken wieners and fresh canned chicken.

Simmons also was a pioneer in rendering by-products, which he sold to fertilizer manufacturers and pet-food processors. Simmons Industries was one of the first poultry companies in the country to produce its own line of high-protein canned dog and cat food.

Outgrown Offices

Soon after Mark Simmons took over the company, it began adding hatcheries.

In 1977, Simmons Industries bought its first feed meal.

In 1989, a major expansion took place at the New Mexico distribution facility.

Poultry giants such as Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale and Hudson Foods Inc. of Rogers receive the bulk of the attention in northwest Arkansas.

But near the Oklahoma border at Siloam Springs, Simmons has continued on its own growth path.

With the addition of processing plants and hatcheries in Oklahoma and Missouri, not to mention a turkey processing plant in Minnesota, Simmons has outgrown its corporate offices at Siloam Springs.

Plans are being made to expand the offices, which contain 11,000 SF.

"We're planning to more than double that," Simmons says.

No starting date has been set for construction, however.

Along with the corporate offices, Siloam Springs is home to two processing plants and a hatchery, which has the capacity to set more than 750,000 eggs per week.

The Benton County complex also houses Simmons' pet-food production operation. Poultry by-products are turned into pet food and then marketed under the brand name Bolo.

In addition to being one of the nation's leaders in broiler production, Simmons is in the top 25 in turkey production.

Other than the new headquarters, the company has no major expansion plans for 1992.
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Title Annotation:Simmons Industries Inc.
Author:Taylor, Tim
Publication:Arkansas Business
Article Type:Company Profile
Date:Feb 24, 1992
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