Our Rich History
In 1947, D.R. Sanderson and his two sons started a small-town farm supply business that sold feed, seed, fertilizer and other farm supplies to their local and surrounding communities. Through the careful management and hard work of three generations, that same family-owned feed and seed store has grown to become the third largest poultry producer in the nation, employing more than 14,000 employees in operations spanning five states and 14 cities.
Today, Sanderson Farms® is one of the nation’s leading food corporations, with annual sales of more than $2.8 billion and a weekly processing capacity of 10.625 million chickens per week. By relying on organic growth rather than acquisition, Sanderson Farms has positioned itself as a leader in its industry and the only company to build new poultry complexes since 1997.
With its company headquarters in Laurel, Mississippi, Sanderson Farms is the only Fortune 1000 company headquartered in the state of Mississippi. Utilizing the support of more than 900+ independently contracted growers, 11 processing plants, 10 hatcheries, eight feed mills and one prepared foods division, the company supplies poultry products to food retailers, distributors, restaurants and food service operators all across the United States and in more than 45 countries.
Responding to increased consumer demand for affordable, lean protein products, Sanderson Farms’ newest poultry facility is a $122 million complex consisting of a feed mill, hatchery, poultry processing plant and wastewater facility located in and near the city of St. Pauls, NC. At full capacity, the St. Pauls poultry complex is expected to process 1.25 million chickens per week, increasing the company’s production targeted for the big bird deboning market by 12 percent.
As a company, Sanderson Farms is committed to adopting a fresh approach in everything that it does – not only where products are concerned, but companywide as well. Though the company has grown in size, it still adheres to the same hometown values of honesty, integrity and innovation that were established when the Sanderson family founded the company back in 1947 as a small feed, seed and farm supply business.
Even today, celebrating 70 years in the business, the company continues to be guided by current Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer, Joe F. Sanderson Jr., a third-generation Sanderson who is keenly aligned with his family’s legacy of unparalleled growth, quality products and responsiveness to customer needs.
At Sanderson Farms, we firmly stand behind our commitment to keep things the way nature intended, meaning we don’t add anything to our chicken. There are no additives, artificial ingredients or preservatives. Some companies add a solution to their fresh chicken products that can include water, salt, carrageenan (a seaweed extract), broth or phosphates. Our chicken always consists of a single-ingredient product: 100% Natural chicken. The other thing we’re committed to 100%? Hatching, raising and harvesting our chickens in the USA. We’ll never import chicken from outside of the country. All of our products are homegrown in the USA. And it says so right on the label. And that’s a promise.
To reinforce our commitment to natural ingredients and exceptional products, Sanderson Farms remains actively involved in the preservation of our animals’ welfare and, as a result, we exercise all measures to ensure that they are provided with the best possible care. Our birds are raised in a climate-controlled environment and are free to roam around the facility they are housed in, which allows them to be kept safe from outside predators and potential diseases. Our corporate veterinary staff oversees the flocks on a daily basis. For their own safety and well-being, the only time they are caged is when they are transported from the farm to our processing facilities.
As a poultry processor, we are not only concerned about what is – or in our case, is not – added to our fresh protein products, we are also concerned about what kind of diet our birds consume from the time that they hatch until they reach full maturity. By operating our own feed mills, we maintain complete control over what our birds consume. We also staff an in-house nutritionist who ensures our corn/soy-based diets contain all the protein, energy, vitamins and mineral requirements necessary to grow healthy poultry.
Sanderson Farms strives to be on the leading edge of quality control in our industry. As a result, we often go beyond what is required by USDA standards to ensure that our customers receive the highest quality products available, which is one of the principal reasons that we insist on formulating our own feed and operating our own hatcheries. We want to maintain as much of our product’s environment as humanly possible so that we can safely assure our consumers that the items they purchase are wholesome, delicious and, above all, safe. For information on safe handling see our cooking tips page or visit chickenroost.com.