"We are one of the first companies in the country to use IBM's mainframe-to-PC GUI development tool, Visual Gen."
— Brian Walling, Director, Information Services

IBM ES9000, AS/400s DB2, COBOL, C++
Chicken processing Medium-sized shop


Conagra Poultry processes 10 million chickens a week, up to 520 million a year. The chickens and chicken products are distributed directly to grocery stores under brand names, such as Country Pride and Butterball. In addition, Conagra Poultry's processed foods division includes such brands as Hunt and Wesson, Healthy Choice and Banquet frozen food dinners, Orville Redenbacher popcorn, and Armour-Swift Echrich hams. Finally, Conagra Poultry supplies ingredients for feed, seed, and fertilizers.

Founded in 1931, Conagra Poultry is headquartered in El Dorado, Arkansas. It earns revenues of $1.25 billion and has 11,500 employees. Its parent company, Conagra, was founded in 1920 and is a publicly-held corporation. Earning revenues of $25 billion, the company is headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska. Conagra Poultry's awards include the Nature Conservancy's 1994 Conservation Leadership award for sustainable development and the American Marketing Association's 1994 Edison award for best new products.



Conagra Poultry accesses Conagra's IBM ES9000 mainframe in Omaha and processes locally on its AS/400s and 500 PCs. Software on the mainframe includes COBOL, CICS, and DB2. The OS/2 PCs use DB2/2 and C++. The operating system on the AS/400s is OS/400, with ISAM files. Staff members are working directly with the IBM laboratory that developed an equivalent to PowerBuilder, called VisualGen. Conagra's SNA network connects all the PCs and AS/400s to the mainframe.

Job titles for Conagra Poultry's 38 computer professionals include Programmer Trainee, Programmer, Programmer/Analyst, Senior Programmer/Analyst, Systems Analyst, Senior Systems Analyst, IS Manager, and Director in the Applications Group; Trainer, Technical Writer, and Training Coordinator in the Training Group; and LAN Administrator, LAN Specialist, PC Specialist, and Technical Support Specialist in the Technical Support Group. Staff members are currently developing a client-server (mainframe server and PC clients) activity-based costing projection application in Visual Gen.


Computer professionals work in cubicles and open areas in a nonsmoking environment. Standard office hours are from 8 AM to 5 PM. A 45-hour workweek is typical, with no overtime pay. There is a need to travel about 10 percent of the time to other divisions.

Conagra Poultry observes eight holidays. The company offers two weeks of vacation after one year, three weeks after eight years, and four weeks after fifteen years. The company pays most of the costs of medical and dental insurance. It also pays for disability insurance and 75 percent of tuition reimbursement. There is also a company-funded retirement plan, matching funds for a 401(k) plan and a payroll deduction option for the stock purchase plan. There have been no layoffs in recent years. When a facility is closed, the company offers a severance package.


Conagra Poultry looks for team players willing to make an extra effort to finish a job. A Bachelor's degree is preferred; a Master's degree is a plus. Conagra Poultry does hire entry-level computer professionals, preferring candidates with some hands-on experience. Current staff members have an average of seven years of experience and some graduate school education.

Conagra Poultry finds its five new computer professionals a year through internal promotions, campus recruiting, advertisements, and employment agencies.


Letters are preferred.

Mr. Jim Cooper, VP, Human Resources
Conagra Poultry Company
422 N. Washington Avenue
El Dorado, Arkansas 71730-5616
(501) 863-1600

Copyright 1998. Carol L. Covin. Covin’s Southeast Computer Job Guide