“This afternoon the weather began to change, a light mist was falling and this later changed to a snow. The storm increased and turned into a regular blizzard. Our turkeys are always out in the open during all kinds of weather and when this storm became very severe we discussed the necessity of shelter for them. D.L. insisted that they had always taken care of themselves and that they would be in good shape and come thru it fine, but late in the evening we found that their feathers were becoming loaded with wet snow and ice and the heads covered with ice. It seemed that the best thing would be to get them in the big barn and the only way to do this was carry them in. We would make several trips thru the deep snow and the blizzard, then after coming to the house to melt the snow from our eyes and faces we would make several trips again. In this way we finally had all of the flock under cover. They are very hardy and very independent birds, but you could see that they appreciated the shelter of the big barn. Had we known the storm would be so severe, we could have driven them inside early in the afternoon.”
Elmer G. Powers, Quietdale Farm, Boone County, Iowa
The Farm Diary of Elmer G. Powers, 1931-1936
Co-Edited by H. Roger Grant and L. Edward Purcell
This week, Winter Storm Ion brought bitter cold temperatures to Iowa. How cold? Actual temperature Sunday night was -12⁰F and wind chills reached -40 to -50⁰F.
Although these cold temperatures are extreme, Iowa faces some tough weather every year. Cold, snow, and ice are three of the reasons that Iowa’s turkey farmers raise their turkeys inside warm, climate controlled buildings.
Even during the coldest winter days, the turkeys on Iowa’s turkey farms will have no idea what the weather is like outside. Inside their barns, they will have 24 hours access to food and clean water and be immune to the stress that cold weather could cause their bodies.
In June, Kristin Porter, the blogger behind the amazing website, Iowa Girl Eats, toured a turkey farm in Ida Grove and then cooked up some lunch with the Iowa Turkey Federation’s Executive Director and Home Economist, Gretta Irwin.
This summer Iowa State University President Steven Leath and Wendy Wintersteen, Dean of the College of Agriculture toured Circle Hill Farms. We had a great time discussing the Iowa turkey industry and the relationships turkey farmers and allied members have with ISU.
“It is reassuring to know that we have a President at Iowa State that is sincerely interested in animal agriculture & understands how important it is to the economics of our State.” ~ Nathan Hill
“Gretta arranged a great tour and conversation and the Hill family provided great hospitality. President Leath and I were impressed by Circle Hill Farm’s facilities and the high level of management demonstrated by Paul, Noel and Nathan. The story of West Liberty Foods is inspirational. It demonstrates the importance of processing in Iowa and how agriculture can strengthen our rural communities.”
~ Wendy Wintersteen
“My visit to the Circle Hill Farm turkey operation was fantastic,” said Iowa State University President Steven Leath. “The Hills let me see first-hand the outstanding job Iowa’s turkey producers are doing and also told me about Iowa’s turkey processing industry. This is a very important part of Iowa’s economy, and I really appreciate all that Gretta Irwin and the Hill family did to make this visit possible.”