Julius and Florence Pulvermacher
I arrived home after WWII satisfied my future lay in buying my father’s grocery and meat business. I would be in partnership with my three brothers. My father’s original homestead, 160 acres, was also included in the sale. No one particularly cared to live on the farm, but Florence and I decided it had possibilities for us. Our choice as a “sideline” was turkeys and after the completion of our new store the house on the farm took shape. November 20, 1946 was moving day – no power or running water, but great just the same!
The following spring a new 10x12 brooder house was built with money borrowed at 4% interest. Profits were reasonable in the ensuing years and facilities were expanded and utilized to maximum we felt with two placements per year.
In 1953 we kept a hatchery supply flock consisting of 320 hens. Laying nests were outside, but regardless hatchability was high, returns good and the price per poult paid almost as high as they are today. In the following 8 years we expanded both growing and breeder flocks, keeping 2400 breeders. Hatchability of eggs shipped to various hatcheries varied widely, plus our major hatchery wanted us to grow out 50% of all poultry hatched. In 1964 we knew if we were to remain in the egg business our own hatchery was necessary. Nicholas Breeding Farms consented to supply foundation stock and a 30x60 building was erected. With no hatching experience that first year was a real learning experience. Today it has been expanded four times and is managed by our son-in-law Denis Billo who joined our staff in 1972. It is now the only turkey hatchery in Saskatchewan.
In 1965-67 I spent a great deal of time assisting in the organization of Saskatchewan Turkey Marketing Board which was formed in 1967. After its inception more time was spent discussing and trying to find solutions to the many industry problems. In 1973-77 I served as a national delegate. Canada’s cheap food policy continues to plague us, but it appears the industry does enjoy some stability.
In the intervening years the “sideline” became mainline, therefore in 1961 I sold my interest in the Store. Our family had grown to 7 children and was a great help during those busy years, washing waterers, feeding poults, gathering eggs, etc. With the Marketing Board taking a great deal of time the day-to-day decisions were Florence’s responsibility.
In 1970, again of necessity, as feed quality was often unpredictable, we decided to build our own feed mill. Our federal research station and D. Dunhelgod gave us needed help. Matt Renneberg, our farm manager, helped me with the design and fabrication. After completion, our oldest son, Murray, with his degree in Agriculture took over the managing aspect. It worked smoothly, but 3 years later burnt to the ground, causing problems, but after 18 months was again operational, only this time it was constructed of steel and concrete. Our second son, Guy, a University of Saskatchewan graduate, manages sales.
Today Hillcrest produces 100,000 market turkeys, keeps 3400 breeders and supplies poultry and feed throughout Saskatchewan and Alberta. Our staff has grown to 40 people and their loyalty and help has been a contributing factor towards our success for which we are grateful. God’s blessings, hard work, and a little bit of luck has made it all possible!