Sanderson Farms Inc.'s net income for 2012 came in at $53.9 million, up significantly from the loss of $127.1 million the company experienced in 2011, according to Sanderson Farms' latest financial report.

The company's fourth-quarter net income was $9.3 million, compared with a net loss of $21.6 million during the same quarter in 2011. "The fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 marked the end of another challenging year for Sanderson Farms and the poultry industry," said Joe F. Sanderson, Jr., chairman and CEO of Sanderson Farms. "We reported record annual sales of $2.386 billion, a 20.6 percent increase over fiscal 2011. However, while poultry markets improved compared to fiscal 2011, grain prices surged to record levels during August as a result of drought conditions across much of the corn belt. As a result, the improvement in poultry market prices was offset in part by higher feed costs. 

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"Our increased sales and return to profitability during the year reflect higher production as we completed the ramp up to near full production at our Kinston, N.C., facility," said Sanderson. "For the year, we sold 2.952 billion pounds of dressed poultry, another record, compared with 2.794 billion pounds in fiscal 2011."

Sanderson said that the company's profitability has allowed it to set up its balance sheet for 2013 and continue its growth strategy once the market improves. "A strong balance sheet is an important advantage in our industry, especially given today's economic environment, and provides us with the financial strength to not only support our growth strategy, but also to manage through challenging conditions," he said.