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Talley-ing Up The Turkey Unit

Prestage Poultry Science Associate Professor Robert Beckstead (right) points some of the changes planned for the turkey unit to Barbara and Nelson Talley before dedication ceremony in Park Alumni Center.

Thanks to a visionary gift from the Talley family, the newly named Windell and Judy Talley Turkey Education Unit will boast renovations to improve biosecurity, decrease labor costs and boost turkey research productivity.

Windell (right) and Judy Talley greet Dean Richard Linton and other CALS faculty and administration before the start of the turkey unit dedication.

When current Poultry Science Ph.D. student Brooke Bartz first set foot on NC State’s campus, she wasn’t planning on pursuing a degree at CALS.

Then she toured the Turkey Education Unit.

Through her tour of the facility, Bartz saw a chance to conduct research she’d dreamed of: improving farmers’ abilities to rear birds with economic efficiency and a high level of animal welfare.

“A 20-minute farm tour turned into a life-altering opportunity,” Bartz told the Talley family at the unit dedication event in February.

The family’s gift and naming of the unit will allow remodeling, improved biosecurity, decreased labor costs and faster turn time, with a net result of greater turkey research productivity. Remodeling of one unit will provide a facility to study the effects of lighting on rearing commercial turkeys. Remodeling of another will create a venue for studying intestinal health in turkeys.

Windell Talley has been an agricultural producer in Stanfield, North Carolina, for 51 years, providing a grain market for area grain farmers using corn and wheat for feed production in his feed mill. That feed sustains Talley turkeys and cattle, with some outside custom feed sales. A CALS alumnus, Windell and his wife, Judy Talley, have three sons who are NC State graduates and who returned to join the family farm operation.

Windell Talley makes a few quick comments during the dedication event at Park Alumni Center.

The Talley family’s work with CALS traces back to Windell Talley’s poultry science degree in 1963. He worked in the Poultry Nutrition Lab mixing feed formulas and washing test tubes, as well as weighing and feeding birds in poultry research. At the dedication, he spoke of his recent work assisting CALS with on-farm research into early use of enzymes.

Pat Curtis, head of the Prestage Department of Poultry Science, called the Talleys’ gift “momentous.” CALS Dean Richard Linton said the gift “will help make the department the best of its kind.” And for Bartz, it was even more personal.

“Without your support,” Bartz said, “I would never have found my calling in the poultry industry.”

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