Christensen Farms, Sleepy Eye, Minn., has reached a “definitive purchase agreement” to buy the majority of assets from Heartland Pork Enterprises, Alden, Iowa, according to a company statement.

Christensen will add about 50,000 sows from Heartland, for a total of 144,000 sows in the Midwest. Heartland's three sow units in Indiana, totaling 6,400 sows, aren’t included in the sale.

With this purchase, Christensen becomes the fourth largest pork producer in the U.S., behind Smithfield Foods, Premium Standard Farms and Seaboard Farms.

"We believe that this is an excellent outcome for our employees and contract growers, and we look forward to our system being part of Christensen Farms," says Bruce Rastetter, president and chief executive officer of Heartland Pork.

"Heartland Pork has a long history of swine production in the Midwest and a solid environmental record to go with it," says Bob Christensen, president and chief executive officer of Christensen farms. "We believe this new business arrangement moves us to a level that enhances our ability to compete in a rapidly-changing market, both domestically and internationally, and positions us to be able to adapt and prosper in the business environment in which we are all working."

Christensen Farms is headquartered in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota with operations in Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska. Heartland Pork Enterprises is headquartered in Alden, Iowa with operations in Iowa, Illinois and Indiana.

The transaction is subject to final shareholder approval, and the companies expect to complete the process in the next 45 days.

Source: Christensen Farms news release