Big Business in the LESMD Region
Though the traditional definition of agri-business may include small farming, wineries, distilleries, specialty cheese manufactures and craft breweries, a number of subsectors are noteworthy due to their sheer size or degree of vertical integration. In the LESMD Region these subsectors are represented by the poultry industry and large-scale row crop farming of corn, soybeans and winter wheat. Though the majority of the wheat crop is exported, the bulk of corn and soybeans are utilized locally in the production of poultry feed. Of further note is an animal life science subsector which grew out of and developed in tandem with the poultry industry – specifically in the fields of genetics and disease.
LESMD-based vertically integrated giants such as Perdue Farms, Inc. (poultry), Perdue AgriBusiness LLC (grains, feed ingredients, food oils), as well as Mountaire Farms (poultry) and Tyson Foods, Inc. (poultry) are positioned throughout the production/supply chain. In turn local grain producers and poultry farms supply the means necessary to make agri-business the largest single economic engine in the LESMD Region, whether on individual farms or through land lease agreements involving dozens of parcels and tens of thousands of acres.