Joe F. Sanderson. Jr., CEO and chairman of the board, Sanderson Farms Inc., made a presentation at the JP Morgan SMid Cap Conference on November 28, 2012. In the question and answer portion of the event, Sanderson was asked if any upcoming regulations might impact the broiler industry in a negative way. Sanderson explained that the U.S. Department of Agriculture might be implementing a new inspection system in 2013. “We don’t think that the new inspection system will be onerous," he said. "A lot of the industry wants it; I’m not exactly in favor of it. It is a system that will take the inspectors off the line and the plants will be responsible for inspecting the chickens for wholesomeness. The majority of the industry is in favor of that, but I am not so much in favor of that.”

When asked why he wasn’t in favor of the proposed new inspection system, Sanderson, who was a plant manager long before he became a CEO, said, “I like being able to say that every bird we sell has been inspected by the USDA.” He went on to say that he is convinced that Sanderson workers would be able to do a good job inspecting the birds, but, in what I think was somewhat of a tongue-in-cheek comment, Sanderson voiced concern over what inspectors would do when taken off the line. “You are going to take the inspectors off the line, they aren’t going to leave the plant, I don’t need them walking around the plant looking for other stuff,” said Sanderson.

A successful transition of the U.S. poultry industry and the USDA to a new inspection system, in whatever form it takes, will take hard work, trust and patience from all parties, and having a good sense of humor won’t hurt, either.