“The start-up of our new Kinston, North Carolina, poultry complex continued during the first half of fiscal 2012,” Sanderson continued. “The increased production at the Kinston plant during fiscal 2012 more than offset the four percent production cut instituted at our other plants in January 2012 to better balance our production with our customers’ demand. Because we expect demand from our food service customers to remain soft until American consumers regain their confidence and the employment outlook brightens, and in light of continued high prices for grain and uncertainty regarding supply, we have instituted the additional two percent production cut we announced in August of 2012. We currently plan to leave our production cut in place through fiscal 2013.”Sanderson concluded, “We are pleased that our profitability during fiscal 2012 allowed us to significantly reduce outstanding debt and strengthen our balance sheet. As a result, we believe we are well positioned to continue our growth strategy once market conditions improve. As of October 31, 2012, our balance sheet reflected $896.5 million in assets, stockholders’ equity of $550.1 million and net working capital of $262.2 million. Our total long-term debt at year-end was $150.2 million. 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. We deeply appreciate the hard work and dedication to excellence of everyone associated with our Company, including our employees and growers.” Sanderson Farms will hold a conference call to discuss this press release today, December 18, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. Central, 11:00 a.m. Eastern. Investors will have the opportunity to listen to a live Internet broadcast of the conference call through the Company's Web site at www.sandersonfarms.com or through www.earnings.com. To listen to the live call, please go to the Web site at least 15 minutes early to register, download, and install any necessary audio software. For those who cannot listen to the live broadcast, an Internet replay will be available shortly after the call and continue through December 28, 2012. Those without Internet access or who prefer to listen via telephone may call 1-888-256-9075, access code 3973364. Sanderson Farms, Inc. is engaged in the production, processing, marketing and distribution of fresh and frozen chicken and other prepared food items. Its shares trade on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol SAFM.