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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And 28 days later, wala! turkeys! These first were not the white turkeys.
More modern changes meant setting eggs in trays rather than little cages.
Bud Ahrens and Vernon Peterson are shown taking off hatch.
The Thompson Turkey Hatchery had a very extensive breeding program and was carried on with reams of record kept on the hybrid development program.
Let's Talk Turkeys Page