Women in Agriculture: Lorri Devereaux
Lorri Devereaux has seen a lot in her 34-year tenure with Sanderson Farms. She has seen the industry change multiple times over, yet the Manager of Central Purchasing says it’s all been for the better.
Devereaux, who will retire from Sanderson Farms this year, knew nothing about the poultry or ag industry when she started with 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 working for Sanderson Farms, 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.”
As part of her current job at Sanderson Farms, Devereaux is involved in many different areas of operation, from purchasing vehicles to utilities, 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 love about Sanderson Farms and the poultry industry – the fact that this is a fully integrated business that touches so many other businesses.”
One main objective in her current role has been looking into ways to make the company more sustainable. “I work very closely with the corporate engineering and environmental departments, and we are very focused on becoming more sustainable,” said Devereaux, “and being good stewards of the environment and our resources. Over the last 10 years, we have put a lot of emphasis on sustainability and set goals every year in terms of how much, or how much fewer, natural resources we use in our processes.”
Devereaux says the company has been making strides not just in terms of sustainability, but in areas of diversity and inclusion. “Years ago, when I started here, there weren’t a lot of women in agriculture. 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 there ever has been.
“This is the only company I have ever worked for, but I can tell you, it’s truly a great company. 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.”