DAN SMALLEY is a lifelong resident of Arab, Alabama, and a retired poultry farmer who for decades was a leader in and advocate for the state’s poultry industry.
He grew up working on his father’s cattle, poultry and hog farm, and in 1973, after graduating with a B.S. degree in marketing and finance from Samford University, he returned to his hometown to manage that enterprise. Two years later, he and his young bride, Mary Nell, ventured into the poultry business on their own with Red Hill Farms in Arab and went on to build that into what, at one time, was the largest broiler farm in Alabama, with 16 houses at its peak.
A contract poultry grower with Gold Kist, Smalley was appointed to that corporation’s board in 1985 and, in 2000, was named chairman of the board. He served on the board until 2004, when Gold Kist sold to Pilgrim’s Pride. During those years, he frequently spoke across the U.S. as an ambassador for poultry and for agriculture.
In April 2011, Smalley lost nine of his poultry houses and more than 100,000 birds to tornadoes. He sold the poultry operation four years later but retained and still manages the farm’s timber stand. He also operates Smalley Development Co., a real estate development entity he established in 1988.
For many years, he was on the boards of the Alabama Poultry and Egg Association and the Marshall County Farmers Federation and held terms as president of both. He was a Gov. Guy Hunt appointee to the Alabama Board of Agriculture and Industries, was president of the Alabama 4-H Club Foundation and the Alabama Agribusiness Council and was the first active farmer to chair the Chicago-based nonprofit Farm Foundation.
He is a graduate of both Leadership Alabama and the Alabama Agriculture and Forestry LEADERS program and was active in several other organizations related to agriculture, renewable energy, natural resources and the environment. Honors included being named to Business Alabama magazine’s first class of “Rising Stars under 40,” winning the Alabama Farmers Federation’s Outstanding Young Farmer Award in the poultry division and being inducted to the Alabama 4-H Wall of Fame.
He has been highly involved in his community, serving as president of the Arab Chamber of Commerce, the Marshall County Economic Development Council, the Kiwanis Club and the Foundation for Marshall Medical Centers. He is a former member of the Alabama Air National Guard.
He and his wife have been married since 1972 and are active members of Arab First Baptist Church. They have two grown children, Jeremy and Dana, and one grandson, James Camp.