LAUREL, MISS. – Effective Sept. 26, officials with Sanderson Farms Inc. implemented pay increases for all its hourly employees as the poultry processor copes with an unrelenting, industrywide labor shortage. The new compensation plan increased pay rates for the company’s line workers, truck drivers and maintenance employees. Sanderson said this marks the third consecutive year it has made across-the-board pay increases for hourly workers. The company employs about 17,000 workers at operations located across five states.

As part of the new pay structure, hourly line workers’ pay will start at $16.70 per hour, with rate increases occurring with every five years of employment. The company also increased pay for its truck drivers as part of the new compensation plan, which now ranges from $21.25 per hour to $24.99 per hour. Additionally, pay ranges for maintenance workers were increased to between $20.85 per hour to $29.77 per hour.

Lampkin Butts, president and chief operating officer, said the company is again demonstrating that it is committed to recruiting and retaining the best job candidates available.   

“In the 47 years I have been working for Sanderson Farms, I have learned the primary thing that makes this company special is its employees,” Butts said. “At Sanderson Farms, we recognize that our employees and prospective employees have a choice about where they work, especially during periods of high demand for labor, and we want them to know our company is committed to providing the best workplace environment, compensation and benefits.”  

This past August, officials with Continental Grain Co., New York, and Cargill, Minneapolis, announced a joint-venture agreement to acquire Sanderson Farms for $4.5 billion. The plan is to merge Sanderson Farms with Wayne Farms, a subsidiary of Continental Grain. The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2021 or early 2022.