Mississippi's Top 50 Most Influential
Joe F. Sanderson, Jr., serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of Laurel-based Sanderson Farms, Inc., the third largest poultry company in the United States. The business has since grown into an incredibly successful, publicly held company focused on the production, processing and marketing of poultry, with last year’s revenues exceeding $3.5 billion.
A life-long Mississippian, Sanderson is a graduate of Laurel High School and Millsaps College. In 1969, he joined his family’s business – Sanderson Farms – where over the years he held various roles.
Today, Sanderson Farms employs more than 17,000 individuals and has built nine of its twelve poultry complexes from the ground up. Its assets include 12 processing facilities, one prepared foods division, 11 hatcheries and nine feed mills located across Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and Texas. The company was recently recognized by Newsweek as one of America’s Most Responsible Companies in 2022, in part because Sanderson promotes a culture within Sanderson Farms that demands corporate accountability through operational success as well as environmental and social responsibility. Sanderson Farms was also named one of America’s Best Large Employers in 2022 by Forbes Magazine.
Most notably, Mr. Sanderson is the Chairman for the Growing Campaign at Batson Children’s Hospital, which is in the final stages of a $100 million campaign to fund the new Batson Children’s Hospital. The main tower is named the Kathy and Joe Sanderson Tower in honor of his personal commitment to create a permanent legacy for children’s health in Mississippi.
Heavily involved in industry and business associations, Sanderson currently serves on the Board of Trustees for The National World War II Museum. He is past chairman of the Business and Industry Political Education Committee, Inc., Mississippi Manufacturers Association, Mississippi Poultry Association and National Chicken Council. Additionally, he is a former director of the Mississippi Economic Council and U.S. Poultry and Egg Association.
For Sanderson, giving back to his community and state is fundamental to the company’s corporate responsibility. From company-wide volunteer hours in the community and donations of poultry to contributing millions of dollars to charitable organizations and hosting the Sanderson Farms Championship, a PGA TOUR event where more than $10.6 million has been raised for Friends of Children’s Hospital, philanthropy is at the heart of its mission.
Sanderson has contributed his time, expertise, connections and support through numerous ways, including serving as vice chairman of the Governor’s Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding and Renewal for the Mississippi Gulf Coast following hurricane Katrina in 2005, and as a trustee for Millsaps College, the Laurel School District, the Mississippi Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and served in 2020 as Chairman for the Governor’s Restart Mississippi Commission. Along with induction into the Mississippi Innovators Hall of Fame, Sanderson is also a member of the Mississippi Poultry Hall of Fame and a Laureate of the Mississippi Business Hall of Fame.