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Poultry industry pioneer Henry Saglio dies at age 92

15 December 2003

US - Henry Saglio, a pioneering poultry breeder whose introduction of genetic research to the industry led to the rise of chicken as America’s most consumed meat and whose work in international development made chicken an affordable source of protein for millions of people in developing countries, died Saturday after a long illness.

Poultry industry pioneer Henry Saglio dies at age 92 - US - Henry Saglio, a pioneering poultry breeder whose introduction of genetic research to the industry led to the rise of chicken as America’s most consumed meat and whose work in international development made chicken an affordable source of protein for millions of people in developing countries, died Saturday after a long illness.

He was 92. Beginning in 1948 when he had the leading purebred entry in the A & P Chicken of Tomorrow Contest with a White Rock chicken he had bred for extra meat and white feathers, his prowess as a geneticist grew until he became known as a “father of the poultry industry.”

In 1977, Saglio was inducted into the Poultry Hall of Fame of the American Poultry Historical Society and was credited with being “the individual most directly responsible for the direction taken by the broiler industry." The citation characterized him as "a hard-working, practical poultry man whose vision earned him worldwide respect and acclaim without sacrificing the common touch."

Saglio’s work led to tremendous increase in the feed-to-protein ratio and a savings in the cost of producing chicken that has kept the price of chicken virtually constant over the past 60 years, thus making it an affordable source of protein for millions of people.

The son of immigrant farmers, he began his sophisticated operation in the 1930s with a chicken coop made from the crate in which the family piano had been delivered. His business, Arbor Acres, based in Glastonbury, Connecticut, grew into an international firm with operations in 21 nations in South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Although he started the foreign activity on his own, Saglio soon won the backing of International Basic Economy Corporation (IBEC), a venture created by Nelson Rockefeller that focused on developing the "basic economies" of developing countries. Arbor Acres was acquired by IBEC in 1964.

Mr. Saglio was a director of Perdue Farms, Inc., and a charter member and lifetime director of the National Broiler Council (now the National Chicken Council), as well as a director of the Connecticut Opera Association. In addition to creating Arbor Acres, he developed Avian Farms International with his son, Robert. Most recently he was involved in the start-up of Pureline Genetics, a breeder of antibiotic-free poultry.

Henry Saglio was born in Glastonbury, Connecticut, in 1911, the son of Frank and Joanna Trosello Saglio. He worked on his father and uncle’s farm on John Tom Hill in Glastonbury until beginning his own business with his brothers in the 1930s. Although he completed only 6th grade, he ultimately was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Beijing for his work promoting chicken breeding and production to serve China’s need for affordable nutrition.

He was married to Florence Miller of Fredonia, New York in 1945; she died in 1971. Their children are Robert Saglio of Watch Hill, Rhode Island, and Janet Saglio of Newton, Massachusetts. Mr. Saglio had 5 grandchildren. A resident of Marathon, Florida, he maintained homes in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, and Glastonbury, Connecticut.

Source: National Chicken Council - 15th December 2003



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