Laurel, Mississippi-based Sanderson Farms has provided an update on the company’s operations and the impact of the severe winter storms that have affected its Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi locations.
Winter storm Uri brought bitter cold temperatures, snow and ice, leaving millions without power across the company’s footprint in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi on Feb. 15, and Uri, along with winter storm Viola, will continue to affect operations. The National Weather Service reported extremely cold temperatures as low as minus five degrees were predicted on Tuesday for all Central Texas, and record-breaking cold temperatures continue in Mississippi.
In addition, the National Weather Service predicts more snow, ice and extreme cold across the company’s Texas footprint on Wednesday and Thursday.
In anticipation of the storm, the company activated its Crisis Management Plan this past weekend.
“We were able to operate at least one shift at our Texas, Hammond, Louisiana and Collins and Laurel, Mississippi, plants on Saturday,” said Joe F. Sanderson Jr., chairman and CEO of Sanderson Farms Inc. “We also took steps to secure our assets, provide fuel, feed and support to our independent contract producers in anticipation of extended power outages, and suspended operations at our Texas, Mississippi and Hammond, Louisiana, processing plants Monday and Tuesday.
“While our processing plants, feed mills and hatcheries are secure, we continue to monitor conditions on our live grow-out farms and live production supply chain. As of this morning, out of 1,918 broiler houses in Texas, as many as 200 do not have power and are experiencing generator failure, and another 300 are operating on generator power. Of 87 pullet houses and 194 breeder houses in Texas, seven pullet houses and at least four breeder houses are operating on generator power. In addition, 24 broiler houses have ruptured or frozen water pipes and are without water. While our four hatcheries in Texas have maintained power, two have been unable to deliver day-old chicks to grow-out farms and all four hatcheries will be unable to receive hatching eggs on our regular schedule until road conditions improve. Based on current weather reports, that may not happen before early next week.
“In Mississippi, four broiler houses were destroyed as a result of collapsed roofs from accumulated ice and snow. Our hatcheries in Mississippi continue to operate normally, but our processing plants will remain closed today. Conditions in Mississippi have improved this morning, and we expect to be able to resume operations in at least two of our Mississippi locations on Wednesday, as well as Hammond.
“This experience is similar to a hurricane,” added Sanderson. “We have experience managing through catastrophic weather events, and this will be no different. Our top priority has been and will continue to be the safety of our employees and independent contract producers, as well as the health and well-being of the animals under our care. We will resume normal operations when it is safe to do so, and will, in the meantime, do everything we can to maintain our live production supply chain. We are grateful for the support from local authorities, our customers and communities, and we will do all in our power to assist in the recovery effort when this weather event ends. Fortunately, our Georgia and North Carolina locations are operating normally.”
The company will provide updates as conditions warrant, and will provide further updates on Thursday, Feb. 25, when it is scheduled to publish financial and operating results for its first fiscal quarter ended Jan. 31. The company will host a call with investors at 10 a.m. CST that morning, and information regarding that call is available on the company’s website at sandersonfarms.com.
Sanderson Farms, Inc. is engaged in the production, processing, marketing and distribution of fresh, frozen and minimally prepared chicken.