Good Decision over Corn Buying Saved Sanderson

US - In an interview, Joe Sanderson, chairman and CEO of Sanderson Farms, attributes the survival of the company to a good decision over corn buying last year, on which some of his competitors were less lucky.
calendar icon 6 March 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

Sanderson Farms had to make a crucial decision last year about corn for feed, one of the poultry seller's major costs, according to an article in CNN Money. Chairman and CEO, Joe Sanderson, looked at several measures, then had 'a big prayer meeting' about whether or not to lock in feed prices, which had then skyrocketed to $8 a bushel.

It would "take divine intervention somewhere to make a profit" at that price, Mr Sanderson said, and "that's going to take a miracle and an angel or something."

Apparently, whatever kind of prayers were offered were answered. Sanderson decided not to lock in prices - and now corn is $3.50 a bushel.

That decision, along with a $300 million credit line that company based in Laurel, Mississippi took out last May, helped it avoid the fate of its more secular competitor, Pilgrim's Pride, which filed for Chapter 11 last fall.

Fittingly, Sanderson president and COO, Lampkin Butts, opened the company's annual meeting in February with a prayer, a long-standing tradition. "Thank you, Father, for this company and the many lives affected by the operations of Sanderson Farms," he said.

Of course, Sanderson is also running a good business – but it is not the only faith-filled poultry purveyor doing well, according to CNN Money. Chick-fil-A, a chain known to many a Southerner as 'God's chicken' because it is closed on Sundays, reported that "God has blessed our results," in the words of President Dan Cathy.

Same-store sales for 2008 rose 4.6 per cent, and the chain grew by 83 stores, including one in New Jersey, where many of the chain's disciples camped out all night before it opened.

The camp-out is a tradition for all Chick-fil-A openings. Mr Cathy typically camps with them, too. The first hundred in line get all the chicken-biscuit sandwiches they can eat for a year.

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