Postville’s Agriprocessors Files for Bankruptcy, Meat Supplies Fall and Prices Rise

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The raiding of Agriprocessor’s Postville plant has forced the plant to close, and the company filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week. The detention of 389 immigrant workers, 300 of whom were imprisoned for five months there was a fatal blow to the rural company and has triggered a shortage of kosher meats nationwide, Agriprocessors being one of the largest producers of kosher meat in the nation, producing 60% of the national total.

Prices have risen nationwide, up to 30% in some areas as kosher markets struggle to keep up with demand. According to the bankruptcy filing, Agriprocessors owes between $50 and $100 million to its creditors, including $845,389.82 to its staffing firm, which is responsible for bringing in new employees, in addition to almost a thousand other creditors.

Its assets are estimated at between $100 and $500 million, so their debt represents at least 10% and possibly as much as 100% of their worth. “Stores like mine are struggling all over,” said Rabbi Yossi Jacobson, the owner of Maccabee’s Glatt Kosher Deli in Des Moines, in an interview with the Des Moines Register. By the time the plant closed, it employed only 250 workers in total.

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