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The National Turkey Federation (NTF) honored George Nicholas, founder of Nicholas Turkey Breeding Farms, with the NTF Lifetime Achievement Award.
Presented in Tucson, Ariz. during the NTF Annual Convention, Nicholas received the award posthumously for his "long-term, unselfish dedication to creative innovation in turkey production."
Jihad Douglas and Yan Ghazikhanian, Aviagen Turkeys, accepted the award on behalf of Nicholas's family and the company he founded. Nicholas passed away in 1985.
In presenting the award, NTF chairman Yubert Envia said, "There are many people who undoubtedly could claim to have a hand in the creation of the broad-breasted white turkey we know today. However, if you want to know who is responsible for putting the modern commercial production on the dinner plates of millions of Americans, there is only one name: George Nicholas."
Nicholas started raising and breeding turkeys in 1939 when he founded Nicholas Turkey Breeding Farms after attending the University of California at Davis. Before long, the Nicholas Bronze Turkey was considered one of the best in the industry. Much of the company's success heading into the 1950s was due to Nicholas's aptitude for understanding the turkey industry and its changing market.
In 1978, Nicholas sold his company to IBEC, an investment and equity firm founded by Nelson Rockefeller and his brothers. That company eventually became Arbor Acres and is now part of the Aviagen family.