LAUREL, Miss. — Poultry producer Sanderson Farms Inc. announced that it will increase pay rates for the company’s hourly employees starting June 2. Sanderson said the increasing compensation is an effort to recruit and retain employees in a competitive business environment.

A company press release said that once the pay increase is established, hourly line operators who have been employed with Sanderson for at least 90 days will be compensated $15 per hour. Truck drivers for the company will be paid between $20.35 to $22.90 per hour and Sanderson maintenance employee pay will range from $19.95 to $27.45 per hour.

“Sanderson Farms has always taken pride in employing the best people the workforce has to offer,” said Lampkin Butts, president and chief operating officer. “We recognize that if we are to continue competing for and retaining these exceptional people, our compensation package must also be among the best available.”

Sanderson Farms employs about 15,000 workers in Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina and Texas with 13,000 people earning hourly wages.

“In the four-and-a-half decades I’ve been working for Sanderson Farms, I have learned that the primary things that make this company special are its employees and overall company culture,” Butts continued. “We recognize that our employees and prospective employees have a choice of where they can work, and we want them to know Sanderson Farms is committed to providing the best workplace environment, compensation, and benefits.”

Last month, Forbes Magazine named Sanderson Farms one of America’s Best Employers according to its annual ranking. During fiscal year 2018, Sanderson Farms processed 606 million chickens or around 4.5 billion lbs.