DeKalb Poultry Research, Inc.
Image Courtesy of Karen Kruse
The marker is located on the west side of Roberts Lane approximately 245 ft. north of its intersection with Oakland Drive, DeKalb.
DeKalb Area Agricultural Heritage Association, Inc. (www.daaha.org) and The Illinois State Historical Society
Success in developing and commercializing hybrid seed corn in the 1930s and early 1940s prompted DeKalb Agricultural Association in 1944 to see if the principles of hybridization could be applied to the breeding of poultry. Association President Tom Roberts Sr. and Ray C. Nelson, V.P. of the newly-formed poultry division, set out to develop superior egg layers for the nation’s farmers and egg producer industry.
Dr. E. E. Schnetzler of Purdue University was hired in 1945 as DeKalb’s Director of Poultry Research. A research farm was established at this site. By the mid 1950s research concentrated on improving the efficient white egg layers.
To meet growing demand for its hybrid chicks DeKalb formed an associate hatchery organization. Using parent stocks purchased from DeKalb the hatcheries produced chicks that were sold to egg-producers in the U.S. and Canada. DeKalb entered the international market in the late 1950s/early 1960s providing parent stock to distributors in Europe, Argentina and Japan. By purchasing the J.J. Warren Company in 1971 DeKalb gained access to an excellent brown egg layer that was color sexable. By the 1980s DeKalb white or brown layers were found in over 25 countries, and the poultry operation was named DeKalb Poultry Research, Inc. (DPRI).
In 1995 DPRI was sold to the U.S. affiliate of Toshuku Ltd., DPRI’s Japanese distributor. It was then purchased by Hendrix Poultry Breeders B.V of the Netherlands in 2000 and is now part of Hendrix Genetics. DeKalb layers enjoy continued success in major markets globally.
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