Women in Agriculture: Alicia Walker
“I think agriculture found me – I didn’t find it. But I have grown to love it, obviously, since I’ve been with the company for almost 13 years,” said Alicia Walker, Corporate Quality Control Auditor for Sanderson Farms. “I went into it blind. Once I got involved, I realized there was a role for me at Sanderson Farms. It takes people from all disciplines to make this company successful.”
Today, Walker contributes to Sanderson Farms’ success in the role of Corporate Quality Control Auditor. Her responsibilities include auditing product quality, food safety, and animal welfare to assure that proper procedure and record keeping programs are being followed.
Walker visits the family farms that grow chickens for Sanderson Farms to make sure that farmers, as well as Sanderson Farms personnel, are treating the birds humanely. She follows the birds from the hatchery to the farm, ensuring that they are provided with adequate food and water, comfortable shelter, and sufficient litter.
“Animal welfare is a top priority at Sanderson Farms, and there should never be a doubt in anyone’s mind about the excellent care we provide to our animals,” said Walker. “At the end of the day, a happy chicken equals a happy ending for our family farmers. It is essential to the company’s success that all Sanderson Farms personnel take care of our birds to the best of our capability.”
Walker handles quality audits in Sanderson Farms facilities across the Southeast. She makes quarterly visits to Sanderson Farms locations to help prepare the facilities for an annual third-party audit.
“We inspect the inside and outside of all Sanderson Farms facilities to ensure they are meeting quality, safety, HR, and procedural specifications,” said Walker. “It’s a very in-depth audit that we prepare for every year.”
Walker’s open-mindedness and steadfast commitment to her work have allowed her to flourish in the agriculture industry, and she encourages other young women interested in the field to explore all opportunities and never be discouraged.
“There is room for advancement in this industry, and women have the opportunity, just as well as men,” said Walker.
Walker appreciates Sanderson Farms’ effort to ensure that women are well-represented in upper management, and she believes women are making gains throughout the industry. Her advice to other women in agriculture?
“Work hard, hang on, and eventually, your contributions will be rewarded.”