Arkansas Economic Development Commission

Advanced Food Manufacturing & Packaging

Recipe for Success

Arkansas is home to Tyson Foods, the third largest employer in the state, and numerous other food manufacturers, including Cargill, ConAgra Foods, Frito-Lay, Gerber, Kraft Foods, Land O’Frost, Nestlé, Pilgrim’s Pride, Pinnacle Foods, Riceland Foods, and Simmons Foods.

Arkansas is the nation’s:

  • #1 producer of rice
  • #3 producer of poultry
  • #3 producer of catfish
  • #6 producer of sweet potatoes

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2nd highest manufacturing employment in the South.

National Association of Manufacturers

Companies finding success in Arkansas

Nearly 50,000 people are employed in the food manufacturing industry in Arkansas. 

Katherine Holmstrom

Senior Project Manager
(501) 682-7394
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  • Income Tax Credits
  • Infrastructure Grants
  • Payroll Rebates
  • Sales Tax Credits & Refunds
Education & Workforce

Arkansas has multiple agriculture and food science-related research facilities: 

  • Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, University of Arkansas
  • Institute of Food Science and Engineering, University of Arkansas
  • Arkansas Biosciences Institute, Arkansas State University

Nearly 13% of Arkansas’s labor force works in the manufacturing industry; 50,000 people employed in food manufacturing.

Available Buildings and Sites
  • 200+ LEED Certified facilities
  • 100+ available buildings of Class A office space ranging from 10,000 to 370,000 square feet
  • 275+ available industrial buildings ranging from 10,000 to 2.1 million square feet
  • Competitive purchase prices and lease rates
  • Sites ranging from 10 to 10,200 acres available across the state
  • 175+ sites with interstate access
  • 40 sites that are rail served
Transportation & Infrastructure

Arkansas is centrally located between Mexico City and Montreal, offering easy access to 40% of the U.S. population. The state's transportation infrastructure provides a variety of efficient options to get products to market. Major market centers in the region include Memphis, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, New Orleans and St. Louis.


  • I-40, reaching from North Carolina to California, runs through Arkansas
  • I-55 links eastern Arkansas to St. Louis & Chicago to the north and New Orleans to the south
  • I-30 connects Arkansas with markets to the southwest, including Texas and Mexico


  • 3 Class I Systems: Union Pacific, BNSF Railway and Kansas City Southern Railway
  • Union Pacific operates major yards in Little Rock and Pine Bluff
  • 22 smaller railroads operate over more than 2,700 miles of track
  • 40 available sites which are rail served


  • Major commercial airports are located in Central and Northwest Arkansas: The Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport has 120+ flight arrivals and departures each day, with non-stop jet service to 14 national/international gateway cities. Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport provides non-stop service to 14 national/international gateway cities on nearly 50 flights each day.
  • Memphis International Airport is located less than 15 miles from the Arkansas state line
  • 6 regional airports located throughout the state


  • 3 ports located along the Arkansas River: Little Rock, Pine Bluff and Fort Smith 
  • 4 Mississippi River terminals: Osceola, West Memphis, Helena and McGehee