Let's Talk Turkeys - Page 1 (of 4)
 

Turkey has been the byword to progress for Ellsworth in a colorful history that began in 1929 with only fifty birds and one flock owner.   William Thompson, young college graduate and farmer, became interested in raising turkeys as a meants of making his livelihood.  In 1929 he bought and raised fifty turkeys on his farm with the aid of his brother Raymond, who at the time was a teacher and coach in Lake Mills, Iowa.

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By 1935, turkey raising on the Thompson farm, a mile east of Ellsworth, was a mass operation.  Raymond quit his teaching job and came home.

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They installed four incubators in 1936.   Other farmers in the area became interested in turkeys - the first two were Howard Pearson and Frank Doyle.  Bill and Ray did not know their business had begun a chain reaction.  In the next 15 years, there was a complete turn around on the Ellsworth farming community; changing it from a general farming territory to an area whose very life blood was turkey raising on a large scale.

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The business kept booming and in 1938, Vernon Peterson came back to hometown Ellsworth to help the brothers run the hatchery and take care of the feed business.  He became a business partner in 1939.

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A Hatchery was built in 1938, but was outgrown.   A new hatchery was constructed in 1944 and expanded in 1945.   In 1948, Bill Thompson and a new member of the business, Burnice Holt, moved to Clifton Texas and set up several egg-producing farms.   The eggs were trucked weekly back to Ellsworth.  Early cages show setting eggs to be hatched.

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And 28 days later, wala!  turkeys!  These first were not the white turkeys.

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More modern changes meant setting eggs in trays rather than little cages.

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Bud Ahrens and Vernon Peterson are shown taking off hatch.

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The Thompson Turkey Hatchery had a very extensive breeding program and was carried on with reams of record kept on the hybrid development program.




 

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