Getting the turkey from the farm to the table

A local manufacturer plays a major role in the nation's turkey industry

You may be thinking of how to prepare your Thanksgiving turkey, but you may not realize all that goes into getting the bird to your table.

A company in Mid-Missouri plays a key role in making sure turkey farms across the country are well-equipped to transfer turkeys.

More than 50 years ago, a man named Cecil Koechner was loading turkeys for a friend near Tipton, Missouri. He found it was very difficult and decided there had to be an easier way to get the turkeys on the trailer.

"Dad said, you know, there's got to be a better way to load these birds," Mark Koechner said.

Cecil started building turkey loaders and cages, with the main objective of safely transporting them. In 1960, Cecil founded Koechner Manufacturing, and the business is still family-owned and operated today.

Animal welfare is a high priority, and Mark says they have to carefully plan every inch of the transporters.

"You don't want it too loose or the birds will slide around and get bruised, damaged and hurt," Koechner says.

The employees weld, assemble and put the finishing touches on with pride.

"These are what we call the turkey coops," Koechner explains, "This of course is the cage they haul the turkeys from the farm to the processing plant."

"All they gotta do is grab the door, slide it down, and it's in so it holds the birds in while being transported."

Mark says getting the birds to the plant unharmed is the key. If it's cold outside, panels will protect the birds from freezing.

Koechner Manufacturing sells their transporters to major well-known brands such as Butterball, Honeysuckle , and Jennie-O to name a few.

So when we bite into our Thanksgiving dinner this week, we can be thankful for Koechner Manufacturing in Tipton, the Mid-Missouri company that played a big part in making sure we have our turkey.