WILLMAR — Willmar Poultry Group is celebrating 75 years in business, according to a news release from the company.

Originally started as the Willmar Poultry & Egg Company by Albert Huisinga, Herman Nelson and Albin Norling on July 25, 1945, with the purchase of an old livestock pavilion, the business, most well-known as Willmar Poultry Company, has grown from one local company with three employees to a group of eight affiliated companies with 1,600 employees spanning multiple states and countries.

The founders were turkey farmers. They were joined in 1951 by Ted Huisinga and seven years later by Ray Norling, Albin's son. The goal was to improve turkey processing and hatching by simply "doing things better."

The Huisinga and Norling families continue to be involved with those companies including: Life-Science Innovations, Farm Service Elevator/Willmar Poultry Farms, PALS, Nova-Tech Engineering, MinnWest Technology Campus, Turkey Valley Farms, Select Genetics, and Willmar Logistics.

The organization supports research and development to support and grow their foundational industry — turkeys.

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Together, Life-Science Innovations and Nova-Tech Engineering own the largest private technology campus in the Midwest, MinnWest Technology Campus, focused on the areas of agribusiness, bioscience and technology with the goal of building a culture where innovation meets collaboration.