Joe Sanderson, with Sanderson Farms Championship’s donation from 2015 tournament. Credit: Tate Nations

Sanderson Farms CEO Joe F. Sanderson has never made it any secret why he chooses to sponsor a professional golf tournament in Jackson.

“Our primary mission is to raise money for Batson Children’s Hospital,” Sanderson has said time and again.

Saturday, during the third round of the Sanderson Farms Championship at Country Club of Jackson, Sanderson said he strongly believes the tournament will better last year’s donation of approximately $1.1 million to the hospital.

“We won’t know until all the accounting is done in January,” Sanderson said. “But, compared to last year, our expenses are down and our revenues look to be up. It looks really good right now.”

Rick Cleveland Credit: Melanie Thortis

Expenses were higher in 2015 because of rainstorms that delayed the tournament and required hundreds of hours of overtime work to somehow make the course playable despite the monsoon-ish weather.

“We’ve added a big sponsorship this year so that’s helped on the revenue side,” Sanderson said. “My goal has been to raise the money we give every year. I have high hopes we can do that.”

For the fourth straight day, Saturday’s third round was played under sunny, almost cloudless skies with unseasonably warm temperatures.

Nobody was complaining about the heat, least of all Sanderson, Chairman of the Board of Sanderson Farms, the nation’s third largest poultry producer. He and his wife, Kathy, serve as chairs of a fund-raising campaign, Growing Children’s of Mississippi. The Sandersons last spring personally pledged $10 million, independent of Sanderson Farms or the golf tournament, as the lead gift for the campaign.


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Rick Cleveland, a native of Hattiesburg and resident of Jackson, has been Mississippi Today’s sports columnist since 2016. A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi with a bachelor’s in journalism, Rick has worked for the Monroe (La.) News Star World, Jackson Daily News and Clarion Ledger. He was sports editor of Hattiesburg American, executive director of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. His work as a syndicated columnist and celebrated sports writer has appeared in numerous magazines, periodicals and newspapers.
Rick has been recognized 12 times as Mississippi Sports Writer of the Year, and is recipient of multiple awards and honors for his reporting and writing.