TORONTO, Ontario – Maple Leaf Foods has agreed to sell its commercial turkey farms, breeder farms and hatchery operations, the company announced July 22.

The company entered into a definitive agreement to sell its commercial turkey farms to Ernald Enterprises Ltd. and its breeder and hatchery operations to Cuddy Farms Ltd. Terms of the agreement include a long-term supply of live birds to Maple Leaf from Ernald Enterprises. Maple Leaf said the majority of the workers at its turkey operations will transition to Ernald Enterprises and Cuddy Farms when the transactions close by the end of July.

"Divesting our turkey-growing operations will allow us to focus on, and direct capital to, growth and innovation in our valued-added turkey processing business," said Michael McCain, president and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods. "The transaction ensures a long-term supply of high-quality turkeys at competitive prices. I'd like to thank our people who work in these operations for their dedication to our business. They are joining two organizations who are leaders in Canada's turkey growing industry."

More than 100 employees work for Maple Leaf's turkey-growing operations, which include a hatchery and six breeder farms, according to the company. The Southern Ontario growing operations supply turkey eggs and poults for domestic and international markets. The six commercial farms supply market-ready live birds to a Maple Leaf processing facility in Thamesford, Ontario.

Cuddy Farms, Strathroy, Ontario, specializes in production and distribution of commercial turkey eggs and poults in Canada. Cuddy Farms distributes products across Canada and to more than 20 countries including Germany, Mexico, Russia, Italy, Turkey, Poland, Austria, Holland, Hungary and the Baltic States.

Ernald Enterprises is part of RBJ Schlegel Holdings, Inc. in Kitchener, Ontario. The company owns 1,200 acres of agricultural land and operates five commercial turkey and chicken growing operations in southern Ontario. They are a current supplier to Maple Leaf Foods' turkey processing operations.