Sanderson Farms records loss due to higher prices

by Keith Nunes
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LAUREL, MISS. — The poultry processor Sanderson Farms recorded a loss of $7,989,000 during the first quarter of fiscal 2012, ended Jan. 31, due to higher feed prices and weak food service demand. The results are an improvement compared with the same period during the previous year when Sanderson Farms lost $33,556,000 during the quarter.

Sales during the quarter increased to $509,004,000 during the quarter, up 17% from $436,639,000 during the previous year.

“Our results for the first quarter of fiscal 2012 reflect improved, but still challenging, conditions for our industry,” said Joe F. Sanderson Jr., chairman and chief executive officer. “We experienced higher poultry market prices than the same period a year ago. While retail demand for chicken has remained steady, we continue to see weak food service demand, and we believe food service demand will remain under pressure until the national employment environment improves.

“Weak food service demand and ample supplies continue to weigh on market prices for boneless breast meat produced at our food service plants. While grain prices have retreated from the highs they set last fall, we also experienced higher feed costs during the first quarter, and this continues to affect our profitability.”

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