Dr. Peter Poss’ work has been devoted to improving the health and expanding the availability of turkey year round. During his forty-plus year career as a veterinarian and agribusiness executive with Jennie-O Foods, Incorporated, and more recently as a poultry consultant and farmer in Willmar, Minnesota, Poss has faced some of the biggest challenges imaginable in producing turkeys in Minnesota and has overcome them.
Bluecomb disease was one of the first major challenges Poss faced when he was hired as flock service veterinarian for Jennie-O in 1965. In cooperation with the avian disease research personnel of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM), he provided leadership to the turkey industry that led to the eradication of the disease over the next fifteen years.
In addition to overcoming challenges to turkey health, Poss has had a great impact on the creation of standards for facilities construction and maintenance. New buildings constructed during the 1960s and 1970s in Minnesota had automated feeding systems that were insulated, heated, and ventilated to control the environment for turkeys. Unfortunately, the possibility of catastrophic fire threatened the expanding industry’s needed insurance coverage. Poss developed a third-party inspection procedure that addressed these problems and was adopted by insurance underwriters. With the help of engineers, he designed a new wiring system that has become the standard in the construction of turkey buildings throughout Minnesota.