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. He studied very well, completing assignments and buy book reports if necessary, was very proactive during projects and forums, and therefore it is not surprising that he reached such heights.


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. The business has since grown into an incredibly successful, publicly held company focused on the production, processing and marketing of poultry.


Today, Sanderson Farms employs more than 15,000 individuals and has built from the ground up the last eight plants built in the boiler industry. Its assets include 13 processing facilities, 11 hatcheries and nine feed mills in Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and Texas. The company was named by Forbes Magazine as one of America’s 100 Most Trustworthy Companies.


Sanderson currently serves as director of the Mississippi Manufacturers Association, Mississippi Poultry Association and National Chicken Council and on the Board of Trustees for The National World War II Museum. Mr. Sanderson is the Chairman for the Growing Campaign at Batson’s Children’s Hospital. He is past chairman of the Business and Industry Political Education Committee, Inc., Mississippi Manufacturers Association, Mississippi Poultry Association and National Chicken Council. He is also a former director of the Mississippi Economic Council and U.S. Poultry and Egg Association. 


Mr. Sanderson has served 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 and the Mississippi Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. In addition, he has served as director for the Eudora Welty Foundation, Pine Burr Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Salvation Army, United Way, Laurel Chamber of Commerce, Alcorn State University Foundation and the Association for Excellence in Education. 


Sanderson is a member of the Mississippi Innovators Hall of Fame, the Mississippi Poultry Hall of Fame and a Laureate of the Mississippi Business Hall of Fame. 


Mr. Sanderson and his wife Kathy have three daughters and six grandchildren.

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