Women in Agriculture: Missy Pearce

Missy Pearce knew she wanted to be in agriculture, after growing up around livestock and being very active in Future Farmers of America in high school. So, when she graduated from Mississippi State 19 years ago with a Bachelor of Science degree in AG Extension and Education, she immediately went to work.

“I heard about the beginning trainee program at Sanderson Farms when I was still in school, so I thought I would give it a try,” said Pearce. “I’ve always been interested in agriculture and went to Mississippi State thinking about becoming an Ag teacher. But when I got into it, I realized that I didn’t want to teach agriculture, but wanted to be part of the leadership and management side of the industry.”

Since then, Pearce has held multiple positions at Sanderson Farms, including the one she currently holds, production manager. “As production manager I have my hands in a little bit of everything. The company itself is very flexible and allows you to move around into different positions. I have learned a lot about many different roles and departments, and because of my experience, I have really been able to enjoy learning how the facility operates.”

Pearce says, aside from her job, that’s one of the things she likes best about working for Sanderson Farms. “The company is very open to moving people around and putting them in jobs where they can be successful in. The current programs they have in place are great because they introduce people to new things, new pathways in the company and for their careers, that they likely never would have thought of.”

Pearce firmly believes that the company truly cares about its employees and rewards hard work, but that you also have to be dedicated and willing to work hard to succeed. “When I came to Sanderson Farms, there were a few women in the workplace and there wasn’t a lot of diversity. I have seen that change over the years, and I have seen that change through hard work.

“When I started there was a stereotype that women couldn’t do it, so you had to prove that you could,” continued Pearce. “For me, having that drive proved, not only to myself but to others, that I could do the job and do it well. Now there are a lot more women here at Sanderson Farms. Outside of that, there are more interested in agriculture than there were 20 years ago.

“However, I don’t think it’s just being a woman that has helped open doors,” explained Pearce. “I think it’s a lot of hard work. Everyone notices hard work and when you do a good job and get the job done right. That’s what gets you somewhere. Sanderson Farms is one of those companies that recognizes hard work.”