Arkansas is commonly known for its rice, but what is often forgotten is its booming poultry industry. While Tyson is the name that comes to mind for chicken in Arkansas, J. K. Southerland was one of the founding fathers of the industry.
Born in 1903, Southerland grew up in Banner, Arkansas. What began as a dozen chicks in the 1930s had grown into J.K. Southerland Inc. by 1940. After merging with F. M. Stamper/Banquet Foods in 1969, there were 800 employees.
Southerland went on to become a founder of Citizens Bank and respected philanthropist. He died in 1981.