North Carolina-based Coharie Hog Farm, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Speculation is that the process will involve liquidating its 30,000-sow operation.

Ranked as the twenty-second largest pork production system in the United States by Successful Farming magazine's annual review, Coharie is the latest victim of the extreme, long-term financial pressure facing the pork industry. The downward slide began back in the fall of 2007, and has presented losses of $10 to $50 per market hog on average through that time.

The industry has produced record levels of pork and has struggled to begin the supply reduction. Coharie produces 190 million pounds of pork annually. Some 100 contract producers in North Carolina and Indiana to raise hogs for the company.

"Coharie Hog Farm did, in fact, file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which calls for an orderly liquidation of all the animals and the assets of the company," Curtis Barwick, acting land and environmental manager for Coharie Farms, told the Sampson Independent newspaper.

A story in the Fayetteville Observer quoted court papers that reported Coharie will first work to reorganize with the objective of continuing to operate the production system. However, that is dependent on its ability to secure sufficient credit.

According to The Raleigh News and Observer, owner Anne Faircloth said she plans to liquidate the company, and some of its 170 employees will be laid off. Faircloth is the daughter of Lauch Faircloth, the former U.S. senator from North Carolina who founded the company in 1972.

According to bankruptcy documents, the company lost $13.3 million in 2008, and another $17 million so far this year. The documents further outlined that the company has more than 450 creditors, with about $50 million in secured debts and $8 million to $10 million in unsecured debts.