The Maschhoffs Inc, an Illinois-based pork production company, has agreed to buy the entire swine production assets of farmer-owned food giant Land O'Lakes.

The two organisations said the expected the transaction to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2005. The deal involves approximately 60,000 sows, associated inventory, related market hog production, and contract production facilities in Oklahoma, Missouri, Iowa and Illinois, along with swine production facilities in Oklahoma.

"We are pleased to have found a buyer for our swine business with more than a century of swine production experience, a solid reputation and history of success, financial strength and long-term commitment to the swine industry," said Land O'Lakes president and CEO Jack Gherty.

"The fact that our two organizations have similar values and operating philosophies should make this a smooth transition for producers and employees," said Ken Maschhoff, president and CEO of The Maschhoffs Inc. "We view this as a very attractive growth opportunity. This is a natural fit both with our existing operations and our commitment to growth."

The deal will make Maschhoffs one of the United States' largest, independent, family-owned swine production operations, with more than 110,000 sows.