In November 1923, Harry Bitz joined his father-in-law William Ward at the Syracuse Public Farmer’s Market to sell potatoes. They were approached by a small turkey grower from northern NY who had eight live turkeys he was unable to sell at the market. Bitz & Ward bought them with the intentions of fattening them up and bringing them back to the market to sell for Christmas. They took a liking to the turkeys and the following year they brought a small flock to the farm. By the late 1930s, the farm was raising 6,000 turkeys per year, but the turkeys were still just a part of the mix - they were also raising cash crops such as tobacco and a small dairy herd.
It wasn't until Harry's son Bob Bitz returned from Cornell University in 1952 that the Bitz family began to focus their farm on turkeys. Bob brought back many modern concepts like specialized production and vertical integration. With the help of these new approaches, the farm became the earliest commercial turkey operation, known as Plainville Turkey Farm.
In 1989, Bob turned the running of the business over to his son Mark Bitz. Mark brought a unique selling proposition becoming one of the first turkey operations in the country to stop feeding antibiotics regardless of need, as well as moving to an all-natural diet and other animal friendly practices. He grew the farm rapidly despite economic and political challenges.
As operations expanded, the farm built bins and barns to hold an ever increasing amount of grain and turkey feed. Over the years, Bob and Mark felt the feed production had become too much for the Plainville location. In 1987, a bank had assumed ownership of a 6.7 acre property with two large grain bins on the main line of the New York Central Railroad in Jordan, NY. Mark felt they could use the bins for corn and grain storage, so they put a bid and the bank accepted the offer.
In 1990, Central New York Feeds was incorporated and Mark had a new mill built with the latest automated milling technology - numerous ingredient and finished bins, a roller mill, and a three-ton horizontal mixer. Upon completion in 1991, the new Jordan mill became operational and for many years exclusively produced turkey feed for its sister company Plainville Turkey Farm.
In the late 1990’s, the mill was approached by a group of dairy farmers who were hoping to find an alternative producer of feed. The mill had excess capacity, so Mark made the decision to begin producing dairy feed. Production tripled from about 18,000 tons of turkey feed in 1996 to 20,600 tons of turkey feed and 46,200 tons of dairy feed in 2005. In 2007, Plainville Farms, Inc. was sold, and a few years later, the mill was solely producing dairy feed and has since become one of the largest single-site dairy feed mills in the Northeast.
In 2018, Mark's son Karl Bitz took over the business becoming the 2nd generation to run CNY Feeds and the 6th generation of the Bitz Family involved in agriculture in Central New York.