LAUREL, MISS. — Improved market conditions supported Sanderson Farms’ earnings for the first quarter of fiscal 2010. Net income in the quarter ended Jan. 31 was $15,817,000, equal to 75c per share on the common stock, which compared with a loss of $6,749,000 in the first quarter of fiscal 2009.

Sales for the quarter were $420,123,000 during the 2010 quarter, up 8% from $388,884,000 in the same period during fiscal 2009.

“The results for the first quarter of fiscal 2010 reflect an improved overall poultry market compared with the first quarter of last year,” said Joe F. Sanderson Jr., chairman and chief executive officer. “Demand for chicken at the retail grocery level has remained good and current supply levels are balanced with consumer demand in that market.

“Our food service business remains soft, reflecting the prolonged slowdown in restaurant traffic caused by current economic conditions. We expect these demand trends to continue until we see a meaningful improvement in the national job market and consumers resume spending and dining out again.

“Our results for the first quarter also reflect lower overall feed costs compared with the prior year. Grain prices have come down over recent weeks in reaction to the U.S.D.A.’s January crop estimates, and we believe our feed costs for fiscal 2010 will remain below last year’s levels.”