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Plainville Turkey Farm sold

The successful, family-owned Plainville Turkey Farm in Lysander has been sold.

Due to recent growth and increasing sales, the company had become too big to remain a family operation.

On Aug. 29, the company released a press release stating the Bitz family, which has operated the farm since 1835, sold the business to Plainville Farms, LLC a subsidiary of Hain Pure Protein Corporation, a joint venture of The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. and Pegasus Capital Advisors, L.P.

The Bitz family did not include Central New York Crops, Inc., Central New York Feeds, Inc. or their Plainville Farms Restaurant located in Cicero in the sale. However, the restaurant will be renamed Plainville's Nature's Fare.

Mark Bitz, a sixth-generation operator of the farm, said the sale was the result of a three-year effort to transfer the business to buyers who share the company's values. The values Bitz emphasized were producing the finest natural food products, treating people and animals well, living and doing business in a more environmentally sustainable manner and positively impacting communities.

"I will continue on with the new company in a strategic and advisory role," Bitz said. "Our product will continue to be produced with the same high quality in Plainville and all of our current employees will be given the opportunity to continue their employment."

The facility has hired Jim Reed as the new chief operating officer.

Plainville Farm history

In 1835, William Ward purchased 72 acres of land in Lysander and began raising crops and farm animals with his wife and children. Handing the farm down through several generations, Ward's grandson, Hiram Ward, and great-granddaughter's husband, Harry Bitz, began raising turkeys commercially in 1923 and were producing 6,000 per year by the late 1930s. In the 1950s, the business began to focus their energies on turkeys and today specializes in a variety of turkey products and services producing more than 600,000 turkeys per year. Plainville Farms is the largest turkey grower in the northeast with 20 acres of the 1,500-acre farm used for 40 buildings to raise turkeys.

According to the company's web site, Plainville was among the first to grow turkeys without antibiotics and animal by-products. Most Plainville products satisfy USDA standards for the use of Lite, and FDA standards for the use of Heart, on its labels. Plainville was also the first company given permission by USDA to use Animal Friendly on its labels allowing turkeys to run free on litter in naturally ventilated buildings and receive 30 percent more space than generally provided in the industry.

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