Nelson Poultry Farms Inc. began with Leda Nelson selling and trading eggs in the 1920s to help put food on the table for her family.
When the Nelson family matriarch acquired incubators in 1928, baby chicks were hatched in the garage behind the family’s Morganville, Kansas, home that were sold locally to provide a viable side business.
After completing business school courses in Kansas City, Leda’s son, Wilburn, returned home in 1940 to help with the hatchery. He later began grading and selling eggs to supplement the established pullet business. Wilburn’s visionary expansion continued to evolve in 1956 when NPF began contracting eggs to the United States Army installation at Fort Riley.
Under Wilburn’s leadership in Morganville, NPF continued egg processing to supply Fort Riley’s needs throughout the mid-1960s while concurrently growing the commercial pullet business. A hatchery and growing farms in Manhattan, Kansas, were purchased in 1967 to fulfill NPF’s growing pullet needs, and shortly thereafter, the base of NPF operations was shifted from Morganville to Manhattan where Wilburn’s son, Greg, joined his father in running an operation that incrementally evolved from statewide to regional pullet sales. Early sales led to leasing in the 1970s.
While contract growers were once necessary in the 1970s and 1980s, master plans for growth from the late 1980s to present day have produced new and improved pullet production facilities that have the capacity to accommodate the growth of the majority of the pullets in NPF’s proprietary facilities. Recent capital development has been invested in hatchery and breeder facilities that have the capacity to produce up to 9 million female chicks per year as well as supplementary aviary growing facilities for both cage-free and floor-grown conventional pullets.
Nelson Poultry Farms continues to innovate as a pullet and hatching business under the leadership of Greg and his son, Brent.