75th Anniversary

1945-07-25 00:00:00

1st Generation Founders

In 1945, three Willmar area turkey growers - Albert Huisinga, Herman Nelson, and Albin Norling - decided that it was time to get into the turkey processing business, even though there were already several other processing operations in the area. They purchased an old livestock pavilion in Willmar and began processing the birds they grew. They figured they could process their own birds cheaper than having someone else do the work. This exchange marked the beginning of a company that was destined to become a major player in the nation's turkey industry over the following 75 years...

1945-08-16 06:02:28

Albert & Albin

Albert Huisinga and Albin Norling quickly bought out their third partner. At the time, the plant operated only seasonally, processing birds for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

1948-01-09 00:00:00

First Incubator purchased

In 1948, while attending a poultry convention, Albin Norling bought a Redwood incubator with a 20,000 egg capacity. Al and Albin decided to install the incubator in the back of the processing plant as a means of keeping the facility running year-round instead of seasonally to process turkeys for the holidays. That year they hatched 35,000 poults.

1948-07-25 00:00:00

Willmar Poultry & Egg Company

Three years later it was decided that they should no longer depend on others for their poults, after purchasing an incubator, Willmar Poultry & Egg Company hatched 35,000 turkeys that first year.

1951-01-26 00:00:00

Ted Huisinga joins the Company

After attending the University of Minnesota on the GI Bill, Ted Huisinga joined Willmar Poultry Company to work for his uncle Albert. Ted immediately began improving the processing plant's procedures and increased is capacity.

1952-01-12 00:00:00

New Facility Built

A separate facility is built nearby to house the incubators. Not long after moving the hatching operation to the new building the processing plant is closed. It is decided to focus strictly on hatching, leaving the processing to Earl Olson at the Farmers Produce Co. and other processors in the area.

1954-05-22 06:40:06

Formation of PALS, Willmar Poultry Farms and Farm Service Elevator

As demand for affordable feed, propane, barn equipment and supplies, and medication increased, Willmar Poultry Company diversified and expanded by creating PALS (Poultry and Livestock Supplies), Willmar Poultry Farms and Farm Service Elevator Company.

1958-07-17 00:00:00

Rayburn Norling joins the Company

Ray began his career at Willmar Poultry Company in 1958. His father, Albin Norling, was one of the original founders of the business in 1945, and Ray came on board “temporarily” to assist with some of the bookkeeping. He then became Office Manager. Soon he was involved in every aspect of the business, including Hatchery Manager and PALS Manager.

1966-09-10 00:00:00

West Side Hatchery built

In 1953, WPC decided to get out of the processing business and focus its efforts on hatching. By 1960, WPC either owned or had interest in four hatcheries in Minnesota and consolidating those operations was completed in 1966 when the West Side Hatchery was built. The hatchery was expanded twice between 1966 and 1970 making it the largest turkey hatchery in the world. WPC hatched nearly 8 million poults in 1970.

1975-04-12 00:00:00

Eagle Lake Hatchery Construction Begins

Construction begins on the Eagle Lake hatchery, north of Willmar. This "overflow," seasonal hatchery was built partially to assure that the company's eggs were not all in one basket...

75th Anniversary

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