The thoughts of purchasing a turkey to prepare for Thanksgiving do not cross most of our minds until just days before Thanksgiving. However, for Nebo students, participating in the Utah State Junior Turkey Program and the preparation of a turkey for Thanksgiving begins in July.
Nebo consistently produces around 1,000 turkeys of the state total for the Utah State Junior Turkey Program. This is just one program under Future Farmers of America (FFA) and the Career Technology Education (CTE).
This year Nebo students produced over 1,000 birds. Nebo is the largest school producer in the state. The students manage the project from hatching eggs, brooding chicks, and then feeding turkeys for 12 more weeks.
The Nebo turkey birds sold out within minutes of posting the sale of the frozen turkeys. Most purchases were from repeat customers. The turkey project allows any Nebo student to get involved and learn the basics of business operations and how to make a good profit without having to spend a lot of up-front money.
Nebo students provided turkeys for the police department, fire department, Nebo Maintenance Department, and the Nebo School Board over the years. When the Utah County 4-H provided over 300 Thanksgiving meals to needy families, Nebo students donated the turkeys for those dinners. All these turkeys are raised and processed by Nebo students and advisors.
There are many “thank yous” to those that make this program possible: J. Merrill Hallam, Nebo CTE Specialist, who has the vision to create and maintain this program across the district. Alan Ashton, Nebo CTE Coordinator, who provides transportation, feed ingredients, and facilities. The teachers who work through the summer and provide support to so many Nebo students.
The FFA program is so broad that students can be involved whether they live in an apartment or on a farm. The Nebo FFA programs collaborate closely with Utah State University Extension Program on research of similar interests, and the Nebo students share the data with other schools.
Nebo students have also expanded this turkey business to many science fair projects that win at nationals.
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