Lorri Devereaux

Lorri Devereaux has seen a lot of changes during her 34-year tenure with Sanderson Farms. She has seen the industry change multiple times over, yet the former manager of central purchasing says it has all been for the better.

Devereaux, who retired from Sanderson Farms earlier this year, knew nothing about the poultry or agriculture industry when she started working for the company fresh out of college. “I didn’t have a clue about growing or processing chickens,” said Devereaux. “It’s been a big learning curve over the years, but I have been allowed to be flexible in my career and have held several different positions within the company. I have been able to learn a lot about our business, and that’s been very beneficial to me in my various roles.”

According to Devereaux’s long-time supervisor, it was a joy to work with her throughout her tenure with the company. “It was an absolute pleasure working with Lorri, or ‘LD’ as I called her,” said Pic Billingsley, director of development and engineering for Sanderson Farms. “She embraced the culture of our company and lived it every day for a long time. I could always trust LD to conduct her business with a high level of integrity and honesty. I will miss her and pray for nothing but the best as she enters retirement.”

In her most recent role at Sanderson Farms as the manager of central purchasing, Devereaux was involved in many different areas of operation, from purchasing vehicles and utilities to packaging and supplies. “It’s been a great learning experience through the years, and I have enjoyed learning not only about our industry, but all of the related industries that it affects,” said Devereaux. “That’s one of the things I loved about Sanderson Farms and the poultry industry– the fact that this is a fully integrated business that touches so many other businesses.”

Prior to retirement, one of the main objectives of her role was identifying ways to make the company more sustainable. “I worked very closely with the corporate engineering and environmental departments, and we were very focused on becoming more sustainable and being good stewards of the environment and our resources,” said Devereaux. “Over the last 10 years, we put a lot of emphasis on sustainability and set goals each year in terms of how much, or how much fewer, natural resources we use in our processes.”

To accomplish these goals, Devereaux enlisted the help of many others to ensure the company performed at a high level. “In order to be successful in achieving our goals for sustainability, it is important to partner with companies that share those same goals,” said Devereaux. “I was fortunate to work with some of the best suppliers in their respective industries who helped make us better by identifying new and sustainable products and providing expertise in helping us manage the use of those products.”

According to Devereaux, the company has been making strides, not just in terms of sustainability, but in the areas of diversity and inclusion. “Years ago, when I started here, there weren’t a lot of women in agriculture,” said Devereaux. “Sanderson Farms has really taken that on and made a real effort over the last 34 years to grow in these areas. Now there are more women on the executive committee and in major management roles than ever before.”

For Devereaux, her lengthy career at Sanderson Farms was both rewarding and fulfilling. “This is the only company I have ever worked for, but I can tell you, it’s truly a great company,” said Devereaux. “You can’t go into a town or community where Sanderson Farms operates and hear bad things about them. Everyone respects what they do and how they give back. They have not only been good to me as a woman, but to their employees in general.”