25 years in Storm Lake community
In March of 1977 Bil Mar Foods of Zeeland, Michigan purchased Thompson Industries of Storm Lake. In June the first turkeys were processed. The Bil Mar ownership continued to run the plant as primarily a seasonal whole bird packaging operation.
On June 5, there will be a celebration marking the 25th Anniversary of Bil Mar in Storm Lake. All employees will receive a free lunch and a gift commemorating the event. Twelve people who have worked there for all 25 years will be honored, and attending the event will be Marvin DeWitt, the "Mar" of the Bil-Mar name and the man responsible for forming the operation in Storm Lake. His son, grandson and great-grandson are also expected.
In 1987, Bil-Mar was part of a sale to Sara Lee Corporation. In 1990 a second production shift was started. This increased product availability for orders from sister companies in the corporation. The company began sending turkey to Hilshire Farms, Jimmy Dean and State Fair as well as other members of Sara Lee Food.
Over the years operations such as Pump and Tumble, Handstuff and Foil Breast were added. Sara Lee's on Carver's Collection turkey products are very popular.
Today, Bil-Mar has five farms, raising approximately 670,000 birds a year. Its feedmill produces over 60,000 tons of feed annually, and the 165,000 square foot plant will process 7.5 million turkeys this year, with around 650 workers.