From the mid 1880s to the late 1920s, Lewisburg, West Virginia was a massive producer of turkeys, and at one time was even considered the turkey capital of West Virginia. Lewisburg was well known for their “Great Turkey Runs,” when they would drive hundreds of birds down Main Street in downtown Lewisburg. The turkeys were gathered from local farms; there were no large corporations. These turkeys would be driven through Lewisburg and down to Ronceverte, where they would then be put on a train and shipped out. Turkey production plummeted in the late 1920s due to the Depression, World War II in later years, and the decline of railroad dominance.
Lewisburg is no longer the turkey capital of West Virginia, but it still holds a prominent role in turkey production. British United Turkeys of America (BUTA) came to Lewisburg in the mid 1980s, but were bought out by Aviagen Turkeys in 2005. Aviagen Turkeys, is one of the most prominent and well respected suppliers of breeding stock worldwide. Aviagen currently has more than 8,000 employees, serving in 100 countries, including a livestock breeder right here in Lewisburg. Will Lewisburg ever regain their title as the turkey capital of West Virginia?