History of Peterson Farms


Everybody who knew Lloyd Peterson called him "Mr. Peterson." It's partly out of tradition but mostly out of respect --respect for a man who long ago had a vision of poultry breeding as the foundation of a company that could provide the world with a nutritious, low-cost source of meat protein.
In 1939, Mr. Peterson and Peterson Farms started out like all the others -- buying breeders to produce chickens. But Mr. Peterson wasn't happy with those breeders.
The people who worked with Mr. Peterson in the early days still talk about how he would spend hours in his poultry houses, studying his chickens, trying to figure a way to develop a faster-growing chicken -- one that could be sent to market at a full weight but after a shorter growing period.
Mr. Peterson began keeping records on the chickens that grew faster and bigger. This, naturally, led him to the study of genetics. Soon, he had hired the brightest geneticists from around the world. The geneticists quickly discovered that Mr. Peterson -- though he had never had any formal training -- had acquired a deep knowledge of genetics and loved to pour over the data as the scientists crossbred various types of poultry.
Some genetic experiments would take years to complete, but Mr. Peterson was there every day, either in the chicken houses or in the laboratories, going over the results, asking questions, reading the textbooks and scholarly studies, challenging the accepted ideas about poultry breeding. That was how Mr. Peterson coined the Peterson Farms motto: "Balanced breeding for bottom line profits."
Then, in the early 1950s, Peterson Farms introduced the "Peterson Male," a bird that could survive better, grow faster, convert feed more efficiently, resist diseases, produce an attractive meat yield and breed effectively. The Peterson Male became the rooster known around the world.
Because of Mr. Peterson's vision, Peterson Farms became a global enterprise, introducing the Peterson Male in more than 50 countries. The Peterson Female followed soon after. Scientists from around the world began coming to Peterson Farms to train in poultry breeding.
Because of that determination, Lloyd Peterson received what is probably the crowning recognition of his long career -- being named to the 2001 American Poultry Hall of Fame. It is a fitting legacy for a man who has made a career of being both a realist and a visionary.

Peterson Farms Timeline

1939

Lloyd Peterson begins Peterson Produce and Hatchery Company

1947

The company's name is changed to Peterson Industries

1951

Breeding research and development go into full swing

1951

Scientists from around the world begin to come to Peterson Farms to participate in groundbreaking research

1954-55

The "Peterson Male" is introduced

1957

Breeding research and development operations are incorporated as Peterson Farms

1958-59

The "Peterson Female" is introduced

1959

Overseas sales and operations begin

1959

Decatur Foods, a chicken processor, goes into operations, later becoming Crystal Lake Foods processing division now carries the Peterson Farms brand

1970

Arkansas becomes the national leader in broiler production

1977

Peterson Farms receives the U.S. Commerce Department "E" Excellence Award in a ceremony at the White House

1989

Lloyd Peterson is inducted into the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame

1989

Peterson Farms celebrates 50 years of achievement and service

1990

Peterson Farms opens fifth hatchery in Decatur, Arkansas

1994

Dressed poultry exports to Russia begin

1998

Peterson Farms' global expansion continues, with offices or sales in 50 countries around the world

2001

Lloyd Peterson is inducted into the American Poultry Hall of Fame