Veteran poultry processor seeks bankruptcy protection

Growing list Eighth poultry firm to be sold, file for bankruptcy or be shut down since 2011

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California poultry processor Zacky Farms LLC has filed for bankruptcy protection, citing high feed costs following the worst drought in half a century.

The family-owned company, whose roots in the poultry industry date back to the 1920s, employs about 1,500 people.

Historically high feed prices led to “significant operating losses that have depleted its liquidity and working capital position,” said company officials.

It is a strain that has been felt across the nation’s livestock industry, as this summer’s drought led to a disappointing corn harvest. Larger producers are scouring the Midwest to snap up whatever feed they can find or importing corn from Brazil. But many farmers now fear there simply will not be enough feed available to meet industry needs.

In the pork industry, the slaughter of sows is happening at record rates, swelling pork supplies and sending prices down. Some cattle ranchers are also liquidating herds, even though short supplies and higher prices are forecast for next year.

Zacky Farms is the eighth poultry firm to be sold, file for bankruptcy or be shut down altogether since 2011, according to the National Chicken Council.

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