Sometimes life changes in the blink of an eye, and the world as we know it is different. Anxiety, doubt, and the fear of the unknown are now our constant companions.

As Chairman of Tyson Foods, I am grateful for our team members, but most of all I care about their health and safety. They come to work every day to feed our country with safe, sustainable, quality and affordable food. Our team members produce food to go on family tables, in lunch boxes, in picnic baskets, for take-out orders and wherever else you may choose to eat.

Even as COVID-19 is changing everything, Tyson Foods is rising to the challenge. Over these last few months, our team members have done what they always have: put food on the tables of millions of homes around the country. But we aren’t just feeding the nation; we are feeding communities, our friends, our neighbors – and our own families. I am thankful for our team members’ commitment to something bigger than a job.

Now, Tyson Foods is facing a new set of challenges. In small communities around the country where we employ over 100,000 hard-working men and women, we’re being forced to shutter our doors. This means one thing – the food supply chain is vulnerable. As pork, beef and chicken plants are being forced to close, even for short periods of time, millions of pounds of meat will disappear from the supply chain. As a result, there will be limited supply of our products available in grocery stores until we are able to reopen our facilities that are currently closed.

Tyson Foods has a responsibility to feed our nation and the world. The government bodies at the national, state, county and city levels must unite in a comprehensive, thoughtful and productive way to allow our team members to work in safety without fear, panic or worry. The private and public sectors must come together. As a country, this is our time to show the world what we can do when working together.

In addition to meat shortages, this is a serious food waste issue. Farmers across the nation simply will not have anywhere to sell their livestock to be processed, when they could have fed the nation. Millions of animals – chickens, pigs and cattle – will be depopulated because of the closure of our processing facilities. The food supply chain is breaking.

We have a responsibility to feed our country. It is as essential as healthcare. This is a challenge that should not be ignored. Our plants must remain operational so that we can supply food to our families in America. This is a delicate balance because Tyson Foods places team member safety as our top priority.

Here is what we have done to date to protect our team members in our plants: In January, we formed a coronavirus task force; since then, we’ve put in place numerous measures to protect our team members across the nation. The company’s efforts have included taking worker temperatures and installing more than 150 infrared walkthrough temperature scanners in our facilities; securing a supply of face coverings before the CDC recommended their use – and now, requiring them in all company facilities; and conducting additional daily deep cleaning and sanitizing. We’ve implemented social distancing measures, such as installing workstation dividers and providing more breakroom space. We’ve also relaxed our attendance policy to encourage workers to stay at home when they’re sick or feel uneasy about coming to work. And in a few circumstances where we haven’t been able to meet our own standards, we’ve voluntarily closed operations, only resuming when adequate safety measures were in place.

We are also encouraging our team members to continue the social distancing practices we have established within our operations, before and after shifts and in their communities. We must do everything we can to prevent their exposure to the virus outside of our facilities and not contribute to community spread in our plant localities.

Tyson is waiving the waiting period to qualify for short-term disability so workers can immediately be paid if they get sick. We’re also waiving the co‑pay, co-insurance and deductible for doctor visits for COVID-19 testing, as well as eliminating pre-approval or preauthorization steps, waiving co-pays for the use of telemedicine, and relaxing refill limits for 30‑day prescriptions of maintenance medication.

Tyson Foods is also paying approximately $60 million in “thank you” bonuses to 116,000 frontline workers and Tyson truckers who support our operations every day.

We committed $13 million to support critical needs in our local communities. That includes $2 million in community grants and more than $11 million worth of food and meals donated by the company since March 11. Over the coming days, we will make more product donations equal to an additional 100 million meals.

This year marks the 85th anniversary of Tyson Foods. Our family and the men and women who started this great company had the simple goal of feeding their families and their local communities. We accepted that responsibility then, and we still do today. I’m proud of the efforts of our team as we work through the COVID-19 crisis. We’ve remained true to our core values, especially by continuing our focus on providing a safe work environment for our team members.

It hasn’t been easy, and it’s not over. But I have faith that together, we’ll get through this. We will continue to bring new ideas to the table, solve new problems, and create new opportunities. We must come together to keep our nation fed, our country strong, and our employees healthy.

What gave us faith in the past and gives me faith today is knowing that together, we will find the right path to take care of our team members and our communities, while providing safe and healthy food for you, our consumers.

I’m grateful for team members, our customers, our communities and our consumers who depend on our products every day.

Chairman of the Board at Tyson Foods

Chairman since 1998, Director since 1984

John brings to Tyson Foods’ board critical understanding of the company, its operations and the food processing industry.

He has devoted his entire working career to Tyson Foods. The grandson of the company’s founder, John has been part of the company since he was a teenager, has worked in almost every department, and eventually became the company’s chief executive officer. He currently serves as Chairman of the board and has a substantial financial interest in Tyson Foods through his interest in the Tyson Limited Partnership, which retains control of the company.

John has been crucial in building the company into a global leader with a conscience, focused on feeding the world great food, made with the utmost respect. Under his leadership, Tyson Foods has expanded its portfolio of products beyond chicken through major acquisitions. In 2001, the company purchased IBP, inc., the nation’s largest beef and pork processor. In 2014, Tyson Foods acquired The Hillshire Brands Company, a leading producer of branded, prepared foods. The combination of Tyson and Hillshire created a single company with more than $40 billion in annual sales and a portfolio of recognized brands, such as Tyson®, Jimmy Dean®, Hillshire Farm®, Sara Lee®, Ball Park®, Wright®, Aidells® and State Fair®.

John and other senior managers led the development of Tyson Foods’ “Core Values," which set goals and standards. The company strives to be an honorable company that employs diverse people and is respectful of their faith. His work has helped Tyson Foods take pride in the safety and quality of its products, and its dedication to meet customers’ and consumers’ needs. The company feeds families, the nation and the world with trusted food products.

He is actively involved in several philanthropic endeavors, including Tyson Foods’ charitable giving, which focuses on health and human services, community development, education, hunger relief and supporting military veterans. John has received numerous awards and recognitions for his commitment to the common good, improvement of local communities and the world at large. He is a graduate of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.