LAUREL, Miss. – Sanderson Farms, Inc. finalized a date to begin construction on a new poultry facility in Palestine, Texas.

The company's board of directors approved Oct. 1 as a start date for work to begin on a new feed mill, hatchery, processing plant and a wastewater treatment facility. The Palestine facility has a processing capacity of 1.250 million head of chickens per week. Product is intended for the big bird deboning market.

"We are excited about the new opportunities ahead for Sanderson Farms as we expand our production capacity and presence in Texas," said Joe F. Sanderson, Jr., chairman and CEO. We sincerely appreciate the support, encouragement and welcome we have received from the public officials and communities in Palestine, Anderson County, Freestone County and Austin, and we look forward to this next stage of growth for our shareholders, employees, customers and other stakeholders."

The board also authorized a regular cash quarterly dividend of 20 cents per share. This represents a new annual dividend rate of 80 cents per share, the company reported.

"We are very pleased the Board has authorized an increase in our dividend rate and granted final approval to commence construction of our next poultry complex," Sanderson said. "Our solid financial and operating performance, consistent growth and strong balance sheet have allowed us to move forward on both of these actions and further demonstrate our confidence in Sanderson Farms' future and our commitment to building shareholder value."