DES MOINES, Iowa – Agriprocessors Inc. on Tuesday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, blaming immigration raids on its financial problems.

The company reportedly filed for the protection before a Wednesday hearing in federal court with St. Louis-based First Bank, which is seeking to foreclose on the Postville, Iowa plant. The hearing was canceled after the bankruptcy filing.

Agriprocessors said it is "actively seeking new sources of financing," and thinks it can restructure.

The company's chief executive officer, Bernard Feldman, wouldn't comment Wednesday on the bankruptcy filing. The filing reportedly said that Agriprocessors owes $50 million to $100 million to 397 secured and unsecured creditors.

"That's potentially devastating. What's worse, the Postville plant was supplying many smaller communities almost exclusively," said Joe Regenstein, a kosher food expert at Cornell University. "It had a unique distribution niche." The company supplied about 60 percent of the kosher meat in the United States

Regenstein said production at the plant has slowed so much in recent weeks that the impact is already being felt in smaller communities.


Source: Associated Press