This year, Spanish Fork FFA students had the unique opportunity to raise over 400 turkey poults and participate in the processing of the birds from start to finish. As part of the Utah Junior Turkey Show each student was able to purchase up to 20 turkey poults to raise during the summer. Each student raised the poults at different facilities in the area, and at harvest time the students transported the birds to the processing plant located in Bothwell, Utah owned and operated by the Utah FFA and 4-H organizations.
The students were able to watch the facility in operation and to participate in several steps of the total process. Students unloaded the birds, applied identification tags, and hung the birds on the chains on the kill floor. Once off the chain they weighed each bird and recorded the weight by tag number. The students then placed the birds in an ice bath for two hours to drop the carcass temperature. After the ice treatment they removed the birds and pulled any additional pin feathers, removed the identification tags, and applied permanent labels to the plastic shipping bags. From there, the students vacuumed sealed and heat shrunk the packaged birds for delivery to the cooler. Because the facility is state inspected students were not allowed to participate in some of the operations, but they were able to view the process first hand. Most of the students had pre-sold their birds and were able to deliver them just in time for Thanksgiving.
This event was a great opportunity for students and advisors to be actively involved in the project from start to finish, and learn some great new skills along the way. There was a lot to talk about with peers and parents when they got home from this road trip!
Lindsey Olsen, Kamrey Olsen, Kaitlin Hallam, Taylor Tomadakis, Katie Thomas, Wyatt Jensen, Kassie Christensen, Tristen Langford and Advisor Jim Lotspiech