A.B. Simmons Poultry
Sanderson Farms Family Farmers Named Finalists in Environmental Excellence Awards
As a third generation farmer, farming is not just an occupation for Seth Simmons, co-owner and operator of A.B. Simmons Poultry in Purvis, Mississippi, it is his calling or purpose in life. Simmons shares farm ownership and operation responsibilities with his father, the second generation of the Simmons family farming legacy.
“Farming, to me, means answering a call to feed God’s people and do honest work for an honest day’s living,” said Simmons. “I really feel like farming is an honest living that you can’t get a lot of other places. It’s a calling for sure.”
On their seven-house broiler farm, the Simmons family raises both poultry and cattle, which supports two families with no one working outside their farming operation. In addition to his responsibilities on the farm, Simmons serves on the regional board of directors for Farm Bureau, where he helps represent the interests of poultry growers to other members of the farming community.
Simmons has been married to his wife, Sheena, for 15 years, and they have two daughters. “The thing I enjoy most about growing chickens for Sanderson Farms is the ability to make a good living for my family, be at home every night, watch my family grow up and never miss a moment,” said Simmons. “I also really like the work. I like farming in general, I feel like it’s a way of life.”
Prior to growing chickens for Sanderson Farms, Simmons worked offshore in the oil industry. As a full-time farmer for nearly two decades now, Simmons has seen sustainability practices in poultry farming evolve over the decades, and he believes they have evolved for the better.
“Overall, we feel a huge responsibility to our environment, and that goes beyond simply checking the box of compliance with government regulation,” said Simmons. “We consider it our responsibility to share farm litter management practices with our neighbors. This includes the large-scale broiler chicken farmers nearby, as well as the hobby gardener who may be interested in using a small amount of litter for fertilizing and growing the perfect tomato crop.”
A.B. Simmons Poultry repurposes approximately 90% of their poultry litter to pastureland farmers throughout the surrounding counties. The family partners with neighboring farms to apply litter management practices on their poultry farms so that errant litter does not find its way into local creeks, which benefits the environment by protecting natural water quality and reducing odor.
Like the Bass family, the Simmons family’s dedication to environmental conservation on their farm has attracted attention on a national scale as they were also recently recognized as a finalist for the Southeast region in the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association’s 2022 Family Farm Environmental Excellence Awards. “It means a lot to me to be recognized as one of the finalists for the award,” said Simmons. “It also makes me want to work harder because we did not win, and I already know a few things we could improve.”
The Simmons family relies on training provided by Sanderson Farms to keep abreast of industry best practices and innovations in farming technology. In addition, they also study industry publications to apprise themselves of emerging changes and developments in poultry farming and agriculture as a whole.
Recently, the family invested in LED lighting in their poultry houses to reduce the amount of electricity their farm consumes while still providing proper lighting for their flocks. When investing in the efficiency of their farm, the impact or benefit to their birds is always the first thing considered.
“We take better care of our chickens and livestock than we do our own family,” said Simmons. “We sacrifice lots of things such as Saturday afternoons at the ballpark or weekends on the lake or at the coast to care for our birds. We really care a lot about our animals.”