Governor Barbour

Nov. 10, 2011


Mississippi Poultry Association kicks off holiday giving to food pantries statewide

Gov. Haley Barbour joined representatives of the Mississippi Poultry Association and the Mississippi Food Network to celebrate the donation of 10,000 pounds of chicken and 10,000 eggs to the Mississippi Food Network, which distributes food and household items to people across the state.

Today's donation is the beginning of a tradition for Mississippi Poultry Association, which plans to make a similar donation annually. Gov. Barbour chose to give the donation to the Mississippi Food Network for its broad reach across the state. The chicken and eggs will be delivered to the Food Network at 11 a.m.

"With holidays around the corner, please remember our state's food pantries and shelters when you consider your charitable contributions around Thanksgiving and Christmas," Gov. Barbour said. "I applaud the Mississippi Poultry Association for this generous donation to the more than 320 member agencies of the Mississippi Food Network."

Companies each donating 2,000-pounds of chicken include: Marshall Durbin with a Hattiesburg plant; Peco Foods with facilities in Canton, Brookville, Philadelphia, Sebastopol and Bay Springs; Sanderson Farms with plants in Hazlehurst, Laurel, McComb, Collins and Flowood; Tyson with facilities in Carthage, Forest, Vicksburg; and Wayne Farms with a plant in Laurel. Cal-Maine, which has facilities in Jackson and Edwards, donated 30 cases of eggs.

"The member companies of the Mississippi Poultry Association have been feeding Mississippians and the world for 75 years," said Mississippi Poultry Association Chairman Sam LeNarz, who is the Laurel Complex Manager at Wayne Farms, LLC. "We thought this contribution coming just before the holiday season would bring attention to hunger in our state and spur other Mississippians to help in battling hunger. We hope this donation to the Governor becomes an annual event."

Food pantries and shelters have struggled this year to keep shelves full for families in need. Walker Satterwhite, executive director of the Mississippi Food Network, hopes this donation will spur more gifts to food banks, shelters and other community programs during the holidays.  

"This significant food donation from Governor Barbour and the Mississippi Poultry Association will allow us to impact lives when the need for food has never been greater," Satterwhite said. "Donations of poultry and other high-protein foods are especially valuable as they allow us to provide our member agencies with more healthy, nutritious options."

About the Mississippi Poultry Association
MPA is composed of six poultry and egg companies, about 100 allied company members who provide goods and services to poultry companies and growers, and 800 growers. About 45,000 people are employed directly and indirectly by the industry. There are 22 poultry plants in the state. Poultry is Mississippi’s largest agricultural industry, pumping an estimated $6 billion into the state’s economy.

MPA was formed in 1937 as the Mississippi Poultry Improvement Association. The industry has grown from a few family-owned feed and seed stores who sold chickens and farmers who raised chickens, mostly sold locally during the Depression, into an integrated global industry with about 20 percent of production exported. Mississippi's 3rd Congressional District leads the nation in poultry and egg production.  Most of the farms and processing plants are concentrated in a backwards L from Philadelphia to Laurel-Waynesboro and over to Brookhaven-McComb. 

About Mississippi Food Network – Mississippi Food Network provides donated food and household items to more than 320 member agencies across the state.  With the current economy, the member agencies are serving more than 120,000 people each month.  We distribute more than 1.5 million of pounds each month to our member agencies, which are operating Emergency Food Pantries, Day Care Centers, Emergency Shelters, Group Homes, Soup Kitchens, Teen Centers, Alcohol and Drug Rehabs, Homeless Shelters and Senior Citizen Programs. To find out more about Mississippi Food Network, visit