California Poultry Federation Headline News

Edited by Mark Looker

A news service of the California Poultry Federation, 4640 Spyres Way, Suite 4, Modesto, CA 95356  (209) 576-6355
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Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2009












LIVE OPERATIONS MANAGER:  Diestel Family Turkey Ranch, an all Natural/Organic, fully integrated, family owned turkey processor is seeking an experienced individual to oversee all facets of our live operations.  The ideal candidate will have 5-10 yrs experience in turkey/poultry live production as well as procurement planning abilities.  Feed milling  and hatchery experience a plus.  Strong leadership/motivational and computer skills necessary.  Salary DOE.  Apply: HR/Live Ops, P.O. Box 576, Sonora, CA 95370, fax: 209-5325059,






Poultry Industry Publications


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The Allied Member of the Year award was presented to Dan Volk of Volk Enterprises. He was first elected to the CPF board in 2000, and since then has provided “outstanding contributions, both personal and professional,” said CPf president Bill Mattos. “He has always stepped up to provide both financial and intellectual resources when asked and has been a big supporter of the CPF and its members. His company is also one of the most admired and respected in the industry.” After high school, he joined the family company, Volk Development, and ran the molding department where he learned the basics of injection molding and resin application. He worked for the Grange Company and ConAgra Foods before he returned to Volk in 1986 and became head of the manufacturing unit. He designed tools, supervised molding and assembly, controlled inventory, sourced materials, implemented assembly processes and began automation. While officially acting as V.P. of Corporate Development for Volk, Dan has developed over a dozen working patents including the following: Plastic Handiclamp;  Rotisserie Clamp; Flavor-it ID Tag;  Plastic Meat Skewers; Hock Cuff;   ID Link and Ring. 

ALLIED MEMBER AWARD is accepted by Dan Volk, right, from CPF Chairman Bob Shipley


The Pioneer Award was presented to Norman Nilsen Jr. of  Nilsen Farms in Wilton, Sacramento County. The  550,000 square-foot turkey growout operation is under contract with Foster Farms. Today, Nilsen Farms consists of three ranches in the greater Sacramento area and produces about 500,000 turkeys per year.  Earlier this year, his family farm was awarded a national environmental stewardship award from the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association. He and his family today operate one of the nation’s most environmentally friendly and sustainable poultry operations in the nation. He has grown, under contract, for Foster Farms since the early 1980s, but his history with poultry began in the 1960s. He and his brother, David, grew up on an egg ranch in Southern California which was established by his mother and father after World War II. Norm’s parents started one

PIONEER AWARD is accepted by Norm Nilsen and family

of the first egg companies in California with an on-ranch egg processing facility and they were also the inventors of the Swish Drinker System in the early 1960’s. By the 1970’s, the drinker system was revolutionizing the poultry industry. Norm had grown the drinker manufacturing business to three offices nationwide, Phelan and Turlock, CA and the other near Atlanta, GA. In 1973, Nilsen’s started an egg ranch, and the next year a broiler operation which contracted with Zacky Farms. Meanwhile the Swish drinker system grew popular internationally, and he sold the growing business to Chore-Time in 1980. The egg and broiler farms were sold around that same time as well. With the help of Norm’s partner Dave Rossi, they kept open the distribution store in Turlock - Alpha Poultry and Livestock.
Norm has consistently used cutting-edge technology to increase the productivity on his ranches. Six years ago, Nilsen Farms upgraded all the houses on two of the ranches with computerized tunnel systems. Nilsen Farms remains the only Foster Farms contract turkey grower with the tunnel system. Additionally, Nilsen Farms installed a quarter-megawatt solar power system to power one ranch about four years ago. Today, all three ranches boast solar power systems. Last year, they entered into a lease agreement with a private solar company and Sacramento Municipal Utility District. Nilsen’s lease the land bordering one of their turkey ranches which in turn generates one megawatt of electricity to provide green energy to SMUD customers opting into their Green Energy Program.
Norm and his wife, Carol, have three children, Tim, Chelsea and Natalie and one grandchild, Ambria. In 2002, Norm’s son, Tim, joined the family business.









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