Georgia Historical Society Dedicates New Historical Marker Recognizing Fieldale Farms and Georgia’s Poultry Industry

(l-r) Fieldale Farms CEO Gus Arrendale, Fieldale Farms COO John Wright, Gainesville Mayor Sam Couvillon, Fieldale Farms Board Member Cyndae Arrendale, GHS President and CEO Dr. W. Todd Groce, Fieldale Farms President Tom Hensley, and Fieldale Farms Board Member John Arrendale.

Gainesville, GA, May 24, 2024—On Thursday, May 23, 2024, the Georgia Historical Society (GHS) unveiled a new historical marker as part of the Business History Initiative in partnership with Fieldale Farms, recognizing the impact of the poultry industry in Georgia. Fieldale Farms helped establish poultry as one of Georgia’s most important industries in the second half of the 20th century.

“We are excited to recognize Fieldale Farms and to share the company’s story of success and excellence with the people of Georgia,” said GHS President and CEO Dr. W. Todd Groce. “Fieldale is an important part of our state’s history and economy. It is a wonderful example of what can be accomplished with extraordinary leadership, careful succession planning, a great product, and first-rate customer service. It is truly the iconic representative in the poultry industry.”

Each year GHS selects iconic companies and institutions throughout the state to be honored through its Business History Initiative. Those selected are leaders and pioneers in their respective fields that have made significant contributions to the state of Georgia. By choosing these companies and institutions, GHS seeks to teach Georgia students, citizens, and tourists alike about the pivotal role these organizations have played in the economic, cultural, and social development of Georgia and the United States.

"Receiving a historical marker is like holding a piece of time, a tangible reminder that our stories matter and our past shapes our future,” said Fieldale Farms President Tom Hensley. “This is a great honor to our founding families and the exceptional community we are proud to call home."

Fieldale Farms has emerged from a local, homegrown business to be one of the largest privately held and independent poultry producers in the world. Before World War II, there was not a large consumer demand for poultry; however, shortly after the U.S. entered World War II, the government began to ration red meat, causing an increased demand for poultry. In 1972, Joe Hatfield and brothers Lee and Tom Arrendale purchased the Northeast Georgia Poultry Operations of the Ralston-Purina Corporation. They named their new company Fieldale Farms, a combination of their last names.

The marker dedication took place at Poultry Park in Gainesville, a space that pays homage to Gainesville’s involvement in the poultry industry. Speakers included Dr. W. Todd Groce, President and CEO, Georgia Historical Society; The Honorable Sam Couvillon, Mayor, City of Gainesville; Gus Arrendale, CEO, Fieldale Farms; and Tom Hensley, President, Fieldale Farms.

For more information about Fieldale Farms and Georgia’s Poultry Industry historical marker dedication or the Georgia Historical Society marker program, please contact Elyse Butler, Manager of Programs and Special Projects, at 912.651.2125, ext. 119, or by email at


The Georgia Historical Society (GHS) is the premier independent statewide institution responsible for collecting, examining, and teaching Georgia history. GHS houses the oldest and most distinguished collection of materials related exclusively to Georgia history in the nation.
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The Georgia Historical Marker Program is an important part of the Georgia Historical Society’s (GHS) statewide educational mission. Through a public-private partnership with the State of Georgia, GHS is responsible for erecting new historical markers and maintaining more than 2,000 markers installed by the State prior to the program’s privatization in 1998. Online mapping tools allow users to explore themed marker trails and design custom driving routes. Visit for more ways to use Georgia’s historical markers and experience history where it happened.

Fieldale Farms Corporation is a family business, still owned by its founding families, but has grown to become one of the world’s largest independent poultry producers. The company was built on strong values and relationships within the Northeast Georgia community and is the proud owner and producer of the premium chicken brand, Springer Mountain Farms®. 100% of Fieldale’s operations are dedicated to producing antibiotic-free, all-natural, all-vegetarian fed, premium, great tasting chicken for Springer Mountain Farms®. Springer Mountain Farms® was first poultry producer in the world to gain the endorsement and certification from American Humane.

Over 25 years, Springer Mountain Farms® has learned what makes the best chicken. It starts with the family farmers in the hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. They wake up every morning with a commitment to do what’s right. Springer Mountain Farms’ nutritionist, truck drivers and plant supervisors carry that commitment through the feed mills, quality assurance lab, and facilities. At the end of each day, each farmer and employee go home feeling proud of the work they’ve done. It’s not to make sure families can eat good chicken, it’s to make sure families can eat Simply Superior Chicken™.