Zacky Farms, one of the largest turkey producers in the United States, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, blaming high feed prices for soaring losses in recent years.
The bankruptcy filing sets the stage for an auction sale of the Fresno-based company by mid-January, according to court documents filed this week in Sacramento.
The auction would come after the holidays, the main turkey-selling season, during which Zacky expects to rebuild its cash flow.
In its bankruptcy petition, the company said it faced $50 million to $100 million in debt. Court records indicate that among the largest creditors are companies that provide poultry feed. Foster Farms of Livingston is owed $1.2 million.
The family-owned Zacky runs its turkey processing plant in Fresno and a processing center in Stockton and several turkey farms in the San Joaquin Valley.
In court documents filed Tuesday, the company reported annual gross sales of about $142 million in 2010 and $146 million last year.
Court filings indicate that Zacky employs about 1,000 people in San Joaquin, Fresno, Tulare, Kings and Los Angeles counties.
Keith Cooper, Zacky's chief restructuring officer, said the 84-year-old company will continue normal operations without disruption to processing or delivery of products.