Sanderson Farms Inc. stockholders elected five directors to three-year terms at the company’s annual meeting in February: Fred Banks Jr., partner, Phelps Dunbar LLP; Toni D. Cooley, president of Systems Electro Coating LLC; Robert C. Khayat, retired chancellor, University of Mississippi; Dianne Mooney, retired senior vice president, Southern Living at Home; and Gail Jones Pittman, president, Gail Pittman Inc.

Other directors, whose terms continue to future years, include John H. Baker III, John Bierbusse, Lampkin Butts, Mike Cockrell, Beverly Wade Hogan, Phil Livingston, Charles Ritter, Rowan Taylor and Joe Sanderson.

At the meeting, Joe F. Sanderson, chairman of the board and chief executive officer, called fiscal 2009 “a successful year for Sanderson Farms” in which “we returned to profitability, we broke ground on our new poultry complex in North Carolina, and we strengthened our balance sheet.”

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He added that the fiscal year produced record sales of $1.789 billion, reflecting additional production at the company’s Waco, Texas, facility, 10% lower feed costs per processed pound of chicken compared with the previous year's costs, and “improved overall chicken markets.” He added, however, that foodservice demand for chicken “remained weak, reflecting the considerable slowdown in restaurant traffic across the country.”

Stockholders ratified the selection of Ernst & Young LLP as the company's independent auditor for the fiscal year ending October 31, 2010. Ernst & Young has served as the independent auditors for Sanderson Farms since the company went public in 1987.