THE PINEY WOODS 161 POULTRY PRODUCERS Sanderson Farms began nearly seventy years ago as a small family business for feed, seed, and fertilizer and is now engaged in the processing and marketing of chickens as the nation’s third largest poultry producer. Sanderson Farms is based in Laurel and has twelve processing plants in five states more than 13,000 employees and partners and more than 900 independent growers. Altogether, the company has a processing capacity of 10.625 million chickens per week, with annual sales reaching $2.8 billion. Sanderson Farms was founded in 1947, incorporated in 1955, and continues to be run by third-generation Sanderson family members, including Chief Executive Officer and Board Chairman Joe F. Sanderson, who is dedicated to continuing his family legacy of exceptional poultry production.