Sustainable Production Systems for Range-Reared Standard Turkeys

2007 Annual Report for ES05-078

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2005: $109,444.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2008
Region: Southern
State: North Carolina
Principal Investigator:
Marjorie Bender
American Livestock Breeds Conservacy

Sustainable Production Systems for Range-Reared Standard Turkeys


Sustainable Production Systems for Range-Reared Standard Turkeys

Information on range production of naturally-mating, standard varieties of turkeys (a.k.a. “heritage” turkeys) is urgently needed. Through a SSARE R & E Grant (LS02-134) the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy and Virginia Tech have conclusive evidence that standard turkeys have more robust immune systems, better survivability, and superior overall performance in range-based systems than commercial strains. Information on range production of standard turkeys is, however, largely out-of-print. A diverse collaboration proposes to train agricultural professionals about range production of standard turkeys. Two regional workshops will be held on farms. A training manual, consisting of a series of topic-based pamphlets will be published which will integrate traditional information on production with contemporary information on diseases, processing and marketing. Participants’ outreach efforts will be supported with materials and personnel.

Objectives/Performance Targets

1. Ag professionals will become familiar with range production of standard turkeys. Participants will…

a. Be able to define the terms “naturally-mating”, “heritage” and “standard”;
b. Understand the recent research on standard turkeys which validates their conservation;
c. Understand the value of range production based on market trends and consumer preferences;
d. Be able to identify and name the standard varieties of turkeys;
e. Be able to outline the steps of range production from ordering poults through brooding, from pasturing and feeding through processing;
f. Be able to describe market niches, distribution options, and related regulations;
g. Be able to assist producers in developing a marketing strategy for this enterprise;
h. Be able to help farmers develop enterprise budgets and provide the economics of production based on regional and state specific data; and
i. Understand the regional infrastructure needed to successfully bring turkeys to the marketplace.

2. Ag professionals will be able to effectively disseminate information about range production of standard turkeys


“How To Raise Heritage Turkeys on Pasture” has been published. It is available at no charge through the ALBC website ( A bound version is available for $12.95 through the ALBC store (

Two of the four workshops have been scheduled.

1. July 21 – 22 at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, NCSU, in Goldsboro, NC

2. October 17 – 19 at Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture in Pacontico Hills, NY. A breeding stock selection clinic will precede the production clinic

Two additional workshops are being scheduled, one of which will be in the southern region.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

The manual was placed on the ALBC website approximately 6 weeks before a bound version was available. Requests for the bound version began immediately. It is clear from the response that entrepreneurial niche farmers are hungry for the information provided in this publication specifically, and for husbandry publications on regionally adapted breeds generally.

While tangential to the specific goals and objectives of this project, ALBC has continued to actively promote heritage turkey and poultry production. In particular, ALBC, Growers Choice Cooperative and the NC Cooperative Extension – Chatham County organized a 3 day workshop on all the administrative, logistical, and marketing activities that are necessary for developing and maintaining a successful niche poultry market. Frank Reese, Jr., Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch, Lindsborg, KS, was the featured speaker. Frank and I (Marjorie Bender) developed hours of powerpoint presentations documenting this information. The program was well received but the desired outcome – energizing people to undertake such a cooperative effort – was not realized.

After much consideration and discussion, Mr. Reese initiated the Standard Bred Poultry Institute which will make classes and workshops regularly available to the public. Topics will range from breeding to management, from post-processing handling to preparation for the table. ALBC serves as a technical advisor and will be closely involved in the curriculum development.

The SSARE PDP program has played an important role in these developments by providing support for a project that has both broadened and deepened ALBC’s knowledge, understanding, and experience of range-based heritage turkey and poultry production. That expanded knowledge-base has made ALBC ready and able to work with farmers who are pushing the sustainable food and farming envelope.


Tarri Street

[email protected]
Shepherd's Hill Farm
673 SW Ichetucknee Ave
Lake City, FL
Office Phone: 3867550941
Bill McBrayer

Heritage Turkey Breeder
Rural Route 1 Box 1738
Wheatland, MO 65779-9707
Office Phone: 4172826337
Sep Harvin

[email protected]
Williamsburg Packing Company
920 Eastland Ave
Kingstree, SC 29556
Office Phone: 8433556447
Holly Born

[email protected]
Program Specialist, Economics & Marketing
National Center for Appropriate Technology
PO Box 3657
AR 72702
Office Phone: 4794429824
Sam Ormont

[email protected]
Heritage Turkey Breeder
2170 Bull Run Lane
Adams Run, SC 29426
Office Phone: 8436973000
Linda Landrum

[email protected]
Marketing & Rural Development
UF/IFAS Suwannee County Extension
7580 County Road 136
Live Oak, FL 32064
Office Phone: 3863621725
Jeannette Beranger

[email protected]
Research and Technical Program Manager
American Livestock Breeds Conservancy
P.O. Box 477
Pittsboro, NC 27312
Office Phone: 9195425704
Alan Moore

[email protected]
Lowcountry Local First
1345 Ave G #AA
North Charleston, SC 29405
Office Phone: 8437405444
Janelle Holden

[email protected]
Executive Director
Predator Conservation Alliance
P.O. Box 6733
Bozeman, MT 59771
Office Phone: 4062230962
Carole Addlestone

[email protected]
Slow Food - Charleston
Charleston, SC
Office Phone: 8432254307
Darlene McElwee

[email protected]
Magnolia Farms
12886 87th Rd
Live Oak, FL 32060
Office Phone: 3863646450
Julie Helm, DVM, DACPV

[email protected]
SC NPIP Coordinator, Animal Health Programs
Climson University Livestock-Poultry Health Div.
PO Box 102406
Columbia, SC 29224-2406
Office Phone: 8032606442
Barbara Bowman

[email protected]
Boss Dog Marketing
PO Box 1494
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Office Phone: 7074338484
Thomas E. Peterson

Extension Veterinarian
Florida A & M University
Tallahassee, FL 32307
Calvert Larson

VA Tech Poultry Specialist (retired)
VA Tech
204 Alleghany St.
Christiansburg, VA 24073
Office Phone: 5403823211
Scott Hammann

[email protected]
Poultry Processor
Rock Enon Poultry
40999 Sestak Rd
Russellville, MO 65074
Office Phone: 5733019950
Danny Williamson

[email protected]
Heritage Turkey Production and Selection Expert
Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch
3441 Mustang
Tampa, KS 67483
Office Phone: 7852275149
Jennifer Kendall

[email protected]
Communications & Marketing Manager
American Livestock Breeds Conservancy
PO Box 477
Pittsboro, NC 27312
Office Phone: 9195425704
Ann Fanatico

[email protected]
Agriculture Specialist
Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas
PO Box 3657
Fayetteville, AK 72702-3657
Office Phone: 8664426085
Elena Toro

[email protected]
Agriculture/Natural Resources Extenstion Agent
UF/IFAS Suwannee County Extension
7580 County Road 136
Live Oak, FL 32064
Office Phone: 3863622771
Alex Hitt

[email protected]
Peregrine Farm
Graham, NC
Office Phone: 3363766320
Brad Burbaugh

[email protected]
Agriculture/Natural Resources Extension Agent
UF/IFAS Duval County Extension
1010 N. McDuff Avenue
Jacksonville, FL 32254
Office Phone: 9043814689
Don Schrider

[email protected]
Communications Director
American Livestock Breeds Conservancy
P.O. Box 477
Pittsboro, NC 27312
Office Phone: 9195425704
Jeff May

[email protected]
Regional Manager
Dawes Laboratories
729 SW Winterwalk LN
Lees Summit, MO 64081
Office Phone: 8477785593
Linda Hart

[email protected]
Turkey Producer
(Indepedent Producer)
Office Phone: 7725718657
Scott Beyer

[email protected]
Associate Professor of Poultry Science
Kansas State University
130 Call Hall
Manhatten, KS 66506
Office Phone: 7855321201
Barbara Mracek

[email protected]
SS Enterprises Poultry Processing
9010 Richardsville Rd.
Bowling Green, KY 42101
Office Phone: 2707773214
Jesse Grimes

[email protected]
Professor of Poultry Science
North Carolina State University
235 Scott Hall
Raleigh, NC 27695
Office Phone: 9195155406
Mike Walters

[email protected]
Walter's Hatchery
RR 3 Box 1409
Stilwell, OK 74960
Office Phone: 9187783535
Steve Moize

[email protected]
J.B.F. Processing
2305 Jay Shambley Rd.
Pittsboro, NC 27312
Office Phone: 9197426584
Dennis Epperly

[email protected]
MO Dept of Ag Poultry Health
21501 Farm Rd 1120
Cassville, MO 65625
Office Phone: 4178465439