About Sanderson Farms, Inc. (production Division)

Sanderson Farms has steadily scratched its way up the pecking order. As the third-largest poultry processor in the US, it produces, processes, sells, and distributes fresh, chill-pack, and frozen chicken (whole and cut-up) under the Sanderson Farms label. In addition to buying chicks from some 190 breeders, the company contracts with 800-plus independent chicken farmers, who raise the breeder flocks for Sanderson. Its prepared-foods business processes, sells, and distributes partially cooked or marinated chicken, including frozen entrĂ©es. Customers are food retailers, distributors, and restaurants and foodservice operators mostly in the US but also in more than 40 other countries.


By product, Sanderson Farms generated nearly 55% of its fiscal 2014 (ended October) revenue from fresh bulk pack chicken sales, while chill packs and frozen chicken product sales made up around 29% and 10%, respectively.

The company operates its business through two wholly-owned subsidiaries: Sanderson Farms, Inc. (Production Division) and Sanderson Farms, Inc. (Processing Division). Its production unit, which produces chickens to the broiler stage, operates in Mississippi, Texas, and North Carolina. The processing unit, which focuses on processing, selling, and distributing chickens, boasts facilities in Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Georgia, and North Carolina, which combined process more than 9.37 million chickens per week.

Sanderson Farms has a poultry operation in Kinston, North Carolina, which processes an estimated 1.25 million birds per week for the retail chill-pack market, and a big bird deboning processing facility and hatchery, equipped for 9.7 million pounds of dressed chicken per week.

Altogether, during FY2014, Sanderson Farms processed 452 million chickens to produce 3 billion dressed pounds. Its prepared chicken product line consists of about 130 institutional and consumer packaged partially cooked or marinated chicken items that are sold nationally and regionally primarily to distributors and foodservice operators. 

Geographic Reach

Based in Mississippi, Sanderson Farms distributes its chicken products nationwide, as well as in Eastern Europe, Russia, China, Mexico, and the Caribbean. It generates 90% of its gross sales in the US, while its largest export markets are Mexico, China, and Russia.

Sales and Marketing

Sanderson Farms markets its chicken products to national and regional supermarket chains, local grocers, and distributors located primarily in the Southeastern, Southwestern, Northeastern, and Western US. The company sells and distributes its products through sales personnel located at its corporate offices in Mississippi and through service representatives at each of its processing complexes and via independent food brokers.

Sanderson Farms' sales to its ten largest customers represented nearly 51% of its total net sales during FY2014, reflecting a fairly concentrated customer base.

To keep its brand in front of customers, Sanderson Farms spent $12.9 million on advertising in fiscal 2014, up significantly from the $3.34 million and $1.27 million it spent in fiscal 2013 and 2012, respectively.

Financial Performance

Sanderson Farms has enjoyed healthy revenue and profit growth over the past few years as it has continued to produce higher volumes of poultry product.

Net sales for Sanderson Farms rose by more than 3% in fiscal 2014 to a record $2.77 billion. The company attributes the increase to rising net sales of poultry products, thanks to a 0.9% increase in the average sales price of poultry products sold and a 0.5% increase in the pounds of poultry products sold from higher bird weights. Average market prices increased for boneless breast meat and tenders during the year, while average prices decreased for jumbo wings and bulk leg quarters. The company's net sales of prepared chicken products jumped by nearly 60% due to higher weights and prices of those products.

Sanderson Farm's net income jumped by 91% to a record $249.05 million during the same reporting period, mostly thanks to higher revenue. Further boosting Sanderson Farm's bottom line, the company's cost of sales on its poultry products declined by 5% as feed prices declined by double digits. Operating cash also jumped by 21% thanks to higher cash earnings during the year.


While many chicken processors serve the small bird markets (comprising primarily fast-food purveyors), Sanderson Farms targets the retail and big bird deboning markets, which service the grocery and foodservice sectors. Therefore, the average weight of Sanderson's birds is often more than that of its competitors and its total production in pounds is greater, as well. The company reiterated in 2015 that the big bird deboning market has been the most profitable market for its company over most of the past decade.

To keep boosting its production capacity, which are key to growing sales, Sanderson Farms regularly adds to its collection of processing facilities. In 2015, for example, the company broke ground on a new processing plant and waste water treatment facility (at a cost of $139 million) in St. Pauls, North Carolina, which would be capable of producing and selling 500 million additional pounds of dressed poultry meat per year once completed. Also in 2015, the company's new poultry complex in Palestine, Texas came online for the first time, and was expected to boost the company's production volume from the region by 16% once it reached full production. In 2013, Sanderson Farms built a new feed mill, hatchery, poultry processing plant, and waste water facility on separate sites across three Texas counties.

Sanderson also looks for foreign sales to buoy dark meat prices as consumers shift from red meats to chicken.

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Sanderson Farms, Inc. (production Division)

127 Flynt Rd
Laurel, MS 39443-9062
Phone: 1 (601) 425-2552


  • Employer Type: Public
  • Sec: James A Grimes
  • Credit Manager: Bobby Hill
  • Sec: Timothy Rigney

Major Office Locations

  • Laurel, MS

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