Iowa Cage-Free, part of the Versova family of companies, has acquired the assets of Rembrandt Foods’ Thompson, Iowa, cage-free farm. Versova Management (Versova), headquartered in Sioux Center, Iowa, will assume day-to-day feed mill, production and processing operations for the 240-acre Thompson farm, which houses one million cage-free hens and pullets, and has an 80 ton per hour feed mill and an egg processing plant. The new farm will be called Ovation Farms and will be the newest farm managed by Versova.
“Strategic growth through acquisition is an opportunity our team has recognized for some time, and this farm fits well within our farming operations,” said JT Dean, president, Versova. “We have made a firm commitment to our customers and our shareholders that Versova will be well-positioned to respond to changing customer demand. Being responsive to and engaged with our customers is integrated in the values of our family of companies, and continuous improvement is among our guiding principles.”
The acquisition of the Thompson farm increases Versova’s overall holdings in cage-free production. In the past decade, Versova’s cage-free production has grown by more than six million hens. With the company’s cage-free expansion currently underway at Center Fresh in Sioux Center, Iowa, and Hawkeye Pride in Corwith, Iowa, and ongoing collaboration with the company’s retail and foodservice customers, Dean expects that share to increase as the company expands.
“Versova’s cage-free housing initiative includes current cage-free farms already in our family of companies, an extensive remodel of existing buildings and recent and planned new construction,” said Dean. “The egg industry is evolving, and we are being deliberate in our plans to assure we can meet the current and future needs of our customers. The future of egg production depends on having the infrastructure and capacity at the ready as states and customers transition to cage-free egg supplies to meet legislative or market deadlines, and this acquisition is an important step toward that goal.”
Iowa Cage-Free, headquartered in Sioux Center, Iowa, purchased the farm from Rembrandt Foods. The company hopes to retain the majority of Ovation Farms employees through the ownership transition. The sale closes September 1, 2021.
Ovation Farms will immediately begin engaging within the Versova operational structure, which includes robust hen welfare and egg safety practices, environmental compliance, sustainability and team member care. Versova has two fulltime, on-staff veterinarians who oversee the company’s stringent hen health and well-being programs.
Companies owned or managed within the Versova family include Iowa Cage-Free, Centrum Valley Farms, Center Fresh Group, Hawkeye Pride and Sioux County Egg Farm, all in Iowa, and Trillium Farms in Ohio. All farms are operated by Versova Management – which provides shared services, as well as marketing, sales and other business functions.
Versova is the third largest egg producer in the U.S. with 20.06 million hens housed on December 31, 2020 as reported in WATT’s annual Top Egg Company survey. The acquisition of the Thompson, Iowa farm’s 1.0 million hens will not change Versova’s place in the rankings. Prior to the sale of the Thompson, Iowa, farm, Rembrandt Foods was the nations’ thirteenth largest egg producer with 7.0 million hens housed.