SILOAM SPRINGS, ARK. — Simmons Foods and its affiliates, which includes Simmons Pet Foods, announced June 16 the 2021 award recipients for the M.H. “Bill” Simmons Memorial Scholarship program. The suppliers of poultry, pet and animal nutrition products awarded 74 high school graduates scholarships totaling $145,000.

“As a third-generation, family-owned business, we place a priority on people, values, education and growth,” said Mark Simmons, board chairman. “To build a strong company and a sustainable future, we believe it is important to invest in the next generation of team members who will support quality food production from the farm to the fork, for people and for pets. This scholarship program is about building and maintaining relationships with our families, our farmers and our future leaders.”

The M.H. “Bill” Simmons Memorial Scholarship was established by Mark Simmons in 1979 in the name of his late father and founder of the Simmons organization. The program was created to assist in the educational endeavors of the children of Simmons team members and growers, specifically graduating seniors who are pursuing a vocational, technical or college degree program. Nearly 1,200 students have received grants totaling more than $1.3 million in educational assistance through the program since it began.

Based on recent announcements, the company’s demand for technical talent in the pet food business alone will be increasing steadily for the foreseeable future.

Simmons Pet Food’s new state-of-the-art pet food canning facility in Dubuque, Iowa is on track to start production in July, according to an update from the company released March 29. The company has already hired more than 120 team members to work at the new facility and anticipates adding 270 more jobs in the second phase of the expansion in the Dubuque area.

In addition, the company announced in October 2020 plans to construct a new wet pet food facility in Arkansas, expected to become operational later this year and create up to 100 new jobs in the Arkansas region.

Visit Simmons Foods’ website for a complete list of the 2021 Simmons scholarship recipients.

Read more about processors in the pet food and treat industry on our Manufacturers page.