View all new releases by Minnesota Turkey below. If you need other information or materials, contact Lara Durben, MTGA Communications Director, at 763/682-2171 or lara@minnesotaturkey.com.

Governor Pawlenty, Minnesota’s Turkey Farmers Honor Thanksgiving

Contact:

Lara Durben

763-682-2171 or lara@minnesotaturkey.com

MTGA Donates 16,700 Pounds of Minnesota-Grown Turkey to Food Shelves

St. Paul, MN (November 20, 2010) – Governor Tim Pawlenty and the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) continued a time-honored tradition today by talking turkey at the State Capitol.

At the event, MTGA President Kent Meschke, Little Falls, MN announced the donation of approximately 16,700 pounds of turkey to Hunger Solutions Minnesota (HSM) along with a financial contribution of $6,100, which will be used to buy additional Minnesota grown turkey products for distribution across the state.

“We know times remain challenging for many families this year and Minnesota’s turkey farmers want to do their part in combating hunger with this donation to Hunger Solutions Minnesota,” said Meschke. “The product donation is enough turkey to feed nearly 21,000 people.”

In addition, MTGA – through its partnership with Turkey To Go mobile food cart in downtown Mineapolis – is pleased to announce that for every order of carved turkey from Turkey To Go prior to Thanksgiving, a donation of turkey will be made to a family in need through HSM. Details on ordering turkey from Turkey To Go can be found at www.turkeyguys.com.

HSM, a comprehensive hunger relief organization that works to end hunger in Minnesota, will coordinate the distribution of the turkey. All processing costs for the turkey are being donated by Jennie-O Turkey Store, headquartered in Willmar, MN. Various other costs of raising the turkeys, such as feed, bedding, equipment and other inputs, were donated by several companies and organizations across Minnesota, the U.S. and Canada.

According to HSM, hunger and poverty are on the rise in Minnesota.  Currently, 1 in 5 families with children in our community has trouble putting food on the table.  This year, in the first six months alone, Twin City food shelves served 193,000 individuals. That equates to the sum populations of Edina, Woodbury and Bloomington.

Said Colleen Moriarty, HSM Executive Director: “We all should be concerned that over 10% of our population requires emergency food assistance.  This generous gift will help low-income families put food on the table this holiday season and throughout the New Year. We greatly appreciate the continued support of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association.”

Since 2001, MTGA has donated 173,700 pounds of turkey to various areas of the state – or enough turkey to feed over 217,000 people. This year, the donation will provide a helping hand to families in communities such as Faribault, Melrose, Willmar, Thief River Falls, Frazee, Perham and Buffalo.

In addition to the donation announcement, MTGA brought along a turkey to meet the Governor. The bird came from a flock raised at the Turkey Research Unit in UMore Park in Rosemount, MN.

Meschke owns and operates Meschke Poultry, which produces 700,000 turkey hens per year that are marketed through Northern Pride Cooperative in Thief River Falls. The operation – started by Meschke’s father – consists of brood and grow-out facilities and a feed manufacturing facility in Little Falls. He and his wife, Lynn, have two daughters: Tanya and Katie.

Approximately 250 turkey family farmers raise about 46 million birds annually, which places Minnesota squarely at the #1 position in the U.S. for turkey production.

“As a turkey farmer, I know a lot has changed in our industry since the early 1930s,” said Meschke. “We are able to raise more turkeys and feed more people, using less energy, inputs and resources than ever before. We are proud to say today that we offer consumers a wider variety of products that are safer; more convenient; and affordable because of advances in technology and improvements in our food production practices. Our turkeys eat better and live in safer environments, and I want to ensure consumers that for Minnesota’s turkey farmers, raising healthy turkeys and providing healthy, wholesome and safe food products to the world is the #1 priority.”

MTGA was founded in 1939. Minnesota has the most independent turkey farmers of any state in the U.S. and is also home to three vibrant turkey processing companies – Jennie-O Turkey Store in Willmar, Northern Pride Cooperative in Thief River Falls, and Turkey Valley Farms in Marshall. These companies collectively have created over 2,000 turkey products for the consumer and foodservice markets that are shipped across the country and the world.

Each turkey raised in Minnesota brings nearly $12 in economic value to the state.

###

About MTGA

The MTGA, founded in 1939 and currently headquartered in Buffalo, MN, is a nonprofit association dedicated to fostering a successful Minnesota turkey industry and its ability to make positive contributions to consumers, the economy, the environment and its members. Minnesota is currently ranked #1 for turkey production in the U.S. with its 250 turkey farmers raising an estimated 45 million turkeys in 2010. Minnesota has the most independent turkey farmers of any state in the U.S. www.minnesotaturkey.com.

About Hunger Solutions Minnesota

Hunger Solutions Minnesota is a comprehensive hunger relief organization that works to end hunger in Minnesota. We take action to assure food security for all Minnesotans by supporting over 300 agencies that provide food to those in need, advancing sound public policy, and guiding grassroots advocacy. HSM advocates for the maximum use of all federal public nutrition dollars available and works to improve low income Minnesotans’ access to all nutrition programs. The HSM Minnesota Food HelpLine (1-888-711-1151) helps enroll low-income Minnesotans in the Food Support (Food Stamps) program and helps callers find emergency food assistance in their area. For further information, visit www.hungersolutions.org/ or call 651-789-9843.

Minnesota Turkey Farmers Care About What You Care About

Press Release
Contact: Lara Durben, 763/682-2171 or lara@minnesotaturkey.com

(Buffalo, MN) – For Minnesota’s turkey farmers and their families, raising healthy turkeys is the #1 priority.

“For those of us who raise poultry, livestock and crops, farming is both our livelihood and our profession,” said Kent Meschke, a turkey farmer from Little Falls, MN and President of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association. “Because we live where we work, farming is also a way of life and we feel a deep responsibility to provide healthy, wholesome and safe food products for consumers.”

When purchasing a turkey for your Thanksgiving dinner table this year, consumers in Minnesota can be especially proud to know they are, in many cases, buying a Minnesota grown turkey, raised on one of 250 family turkey farms right here in our state, according to Meschke.

Consumers can rest assured, also, that turkey farmers do their utmost to ensure every turkey is raised with care.

  • The majority of turkeys in the U.S. are raised in barns that are environmentally-controlled and scientifically-designed to keep the birds comfortable and to protect them from predators, disease and inclement weather.
  • Turkeys are fed a balanced diet of corn, soybeans and essential vitamins and minerals at every stage of their life. Fresh water and feed are available at all times.
  • Turkey farmers do not feed their turkeys hormones or steroids. (In fact, all poultry in the U.S. is raised with no added hormones or steroids.)
  • Much like people, most turkeys are treated with antibiotics as needed when they aren’t feeling well. Turkey farmers consider it inhumane to not treat a sick animal. (Turkeys labeled antibiotic-free at the supermarket, are not treated with antibiotics.)

Turkey Farming is Efficient

“Turkey farmers feed more people using less resources than ever before,” said Meschke. “Turkeys today produce twice as much meat with half as much feed compared to the 1930s.”

Because of the world’s anticipated population growth, food demand is expected to increase 100% by 2050. Said Meschke: “ Turkey farmers will continue to develop and utilize efficiency-improving technology to ensure they will help feed the people on our planet.”

Turkey Farming is Sustainable

From utilizing turkey litter as the original “green” fertilizer for cropland to generating electricity at a plant in Benson, MN, Minnesota’s turkey industry takes pride in the sustainability of its farms.

For instance, did you know that turkey litter applied as fertilizer to cropland improves the quality of the soil and its ability to hold carbon? And increasingly, LED lighting is used in turkey barns as an important energy conservation measure, according to Meschke.

Eating Turkey is Safe

Minnesota’s turkey farmers and processing companies take very seriously their role in providing a safe, wholesome product to consumers.

“Every turkey processed is inspected by a USDA inspector to ensure the utmost quality product,” said Steve Olson, Executive Director of the MTGA. “Consumers also play an important role in making sure food stays safe to eat.  It’s truly a team effort between our family farmers, turkey companies and the consumers who enjoy our products.”

Here are some tips to remember:

  • Don’t cross contaminate – keep raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs away from ready-to-eat foods. Use one cutting board and knife for raw meat and another for fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Use a meat thermometer and be sure to cook your turkey product to 165 degrees F.
  • Refrigerate promptly: Follow the “two hour rule” – refrigerate perishable foods within two hours at a refrigerator temperature of 40 degrees F. or below.
  • You can place hot food directly in the refrigerator.

You can find more information about Minnesota’s turkey industry at www.minnesotaturkey.com/recipes-tips, which includes links to tips on purchasing, thawing and cooking your turkey as well as an informative brochure on food labels and what they mean.

You can also find Minnesota turkey on Facebook ( www.facebook.com/MinnesotaTurkey ) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/MinnesotaTurkey or @MinnesotaTurkey).

###

About MTGA

The MTGA, founded in 1939 and currently headquartered in Buffalo, MN, is a nonprofit association dedicated to fostering a successful Minnesota turkey industry and its ability to make positive contributions to consumers, the economy, the environment and its members. Minnesota is currently ranked #1 for turkey production in the U.S. with its 250 turkey farmers raising approximately 46 million turkeys in 2010. Minnesota has the most independent turkey farmers of any state in the U.S. For further details, visit www.minnesotaturkey.com.

Minnesota Turkey Utilizing Social Media to Talk Turkey

Press Release
Contact: Lara Durben, 763/682-2171 or lara@minnesotaturkey.com

(Buffalo, MN) – Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) and Minnesota Turkey Research & Promotion Council (MTRPC) are now talking turkey to the masses on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

“As the nation’s #1 producing state for turkey, we’re thrilled to announce we have jumped on the social media bandwagon,” said Steve Olson, MTGA/MTRPC Executive Director. “We plan to communicate a variety of turkey facts, information, trivia and recipes, as well as engage all those turkey-loving consumers out there on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.”

Minnesota Turkey®’s YouTube channel includes videos of turkey farmers on their farms, describing their operations – with more video footage to come in 2011.

Facebook is a great place to share both consumer and industry information with a variety of people. “We try to post one or more items each day to keep Minnesota Turkey in the forefront of people’s Facebook ‘news feeds.’” said Olson.

Added Olson, “Twitter moves quickly and we’re still learning the ropes, but we’ve retweeted many interesting links and information, along with tweeting our own messages. We are also cultivating new followers every day.

“With so many people using these social media tools on a daily basis, we knew we wanted to have a presence and utilize all of these avenues for our communications and marketing efforts,” said Steve Olson, MTRPC Executive Director. “It’s exciting to see that our messages about the wholesome goodness of turkey will go worldwide with these tools. Our goal is to engage a variety of people on all things turkey.”

Find Minnesota Turkey® here:

www.facebook.com/MinnesotaTurkey

www.twitter.com/MinnesotaTurkey (or search @MinnesotaTurkey)

www.youtube.com/user/MinnesotaTurkey

You can find more information about Minnesota’s turkey industry at www.minnesotaturkey.com.

###

About MTGA

The MTGA, founded in 1939 and currently headquartered in Buffalo, MN, is a nonprofit association dedicated to fostering a successful Minnesota turkey industry and its ability to make positive contributions to consumers, the economy, the environment and its members. Minnesota is currently ranked #1 for turkey production in the U.S. with its 250 turkey farmers raising approximately 46 million turkeys in 2010. Minnesota has the most independent turkey farmers of any state in the U.S. For further details, visit www.minnesotaturkey.com.

9 Fun Facts – Turkey To Go and Minnesota Turkey

For immediate release

Contact:

Vanessa Tait, Group Leaf LLC Lara Durben, Minnesota Turkey Growers Association

Ph: 651/308-8027 Ph: 763/682-2171 (office) or 612/554-0920 (cell)

vanessa@groupleaf.com lara@minnesotaturkey.com

1. The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association has been serving up turkey at the Minnesota State Fair for 52 years (since 1958). Our State Fair concession stand, Turkey To Go, is known for its signature Giant Juicy Turkey Sandwich and Slow-Roasted Turkey Drumsticks.

2. We expect to cook over 3,000 turkeys at Turkey To Go this year.

3. Turkey To Go concession has its own Facebook page – www.facebook.com/turkeytogo.

4. Turkey To Go opened a mobile food cart in downtown Minneapolis on August 3, 2010. On most days, fans of Turkey To Go can find the mobile cart at South 8th Street and Nicollet Mall. During Minnesota Twins home games, the cart will be set up at South 6th Street and Hennepin Avenue. Up-to-date location information can be found at www.twitter.com/turkeytogo.

5. Turkeys raised in U.S. are free of added hormones and steroids. In fact, there are no hormones or steroids approved for use in turkey production in the U.S.

6. Turkey has more protein than chicken or beef – plus fewer calories and zero saturated fat.

7. Minnesota is ranked #1 for turkey production, processing, and hatching in the U.S. and is home to 250 turkey farmers who raise approximately 45 million turkeys annually on 600 farms. Minnesota has the most family-owned turkey farms of any state in the U.S. and many our turkey producers are 3rd, 4th and 5th generation farmers.

8. Formed in 1939, the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA), is a nonprofit trade association dedicated to fostering a successful turkey industry. Today the MTGA and its sister organization, the Minnesota Turkey Research Promotion Council, work on behalf of Minnesota’s turkey industry in the areas of research, promotion, public relations, issues management, education and government affairs.

9. The MTGA’s Web site – www.minnesotaturkey.com – features links to more than 1,700 turkey recipes for consumers and the foodservice industry. We also have recipes at our State Fair booth in the Dairy Building.

– 30 – 

MN Turkey Farmer Offers Free Groceries for a Year

For immediate release

Contact:

Vanessa Tait, Group Leaf LLC Lara Durben, Minnesota Turkey Growers Association

Ph: 651/308-8027 Ph: 763/682-2171 (office) or 612/554-0920 (cell)

vanessa@groupleaf.com lara@minnesotaturkey.com

Visit www.FarmersFeedUs.org to sign up

(Buffalo, MN) … Kent Meschke, a turkey farmer from Little Falls, MN, is one of nine farmers offering all Minnesota residents a chance to win free groceries for an entire year*.

“As a Minnesota farmer, I’m thrilled to offer free groceries for a year to the consumers of our great state,” said Meschke. “This is an opportunity for Minnesota farmers to share what we produce with Minnesota consumers and to let them know we share their values – taking care of our families, taking care of our animals and land and giving back to our communities.”

Meschke is a third generation turkey farmer who raises 700,000 turkey hens annually that he markets through Northern Pride Cooperative, Thief River Falls, MN. The Meschke operation also includes a feed manufacturing facility.

For details on the sweepstakes, consumers can visit www.FarmersFeedUs.org and register for two grand prizes of free groceries by meeting a Minnesota farmer through a short video that shows how they produce safe, nutritious and affordable food.

Consumers can register with each of the nine featured farmers daily through Nov. 6, the end of the 90-day program.

The Farmers Feed US website features turkey, chicken, egg, beef, corn, dairy, hog, and soybean farmers from across the state, each sharing information about their farm and their family. In addition to guiding visitors through their registration for free groceries, each farmer also offers a brief online tour of their farm.

All featured farmers on www.FarmersFeedUs.org include:

  • Brian Asmus, egg farmer, Winthrop
  • Judy Bode, hog farmer, Courtland
  • Shannon Kuball, dairy farmer, Waterville
  • Kent Meschke, turkey farmer, Little Falls
  • Brian Schafer, cattle farmer, Goodhue
  • Greg Schwarz, corn farmer, Le Sueur
  • Charity Vold, dairy farmer, Glenwood
  • Matt Widboom, soybean farmer, Worthington
  • Bill Wuertz, chicken farmer, Paynesville

Over the course of the 90-day campaign, consumers throughout the state will also see and hear from these farmers as they are featured in television advertising and on Facebook (www.facebook.com/mnfarmersfeedus) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/mnfarmersfeedus).

The Farmers Feed Us sweepstakes will also be the featured attraction at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s booth at the 2010 Minnesota State Fair. Attendees can visit the booth in the Horticulture Building, meet some of the featured farmers (schedule varies) and sign up for the sweepstakes.


Participating Minnesota agriculture groups include the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota Pork Board, Midwest Dairy Association, Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, Minnesota Farm Bureau, Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion Council, Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council, Broiler and Egg Association of Minnesota, Minnesota Beef Council, Minnesota Farm & Food Coalition, Southeast Minnesota Ag Alliance, and Gold n’ Plump.

– 30 –

About MTGA

MTGA is a nonprofit trade organization that began in 1939 with a mission to foster a successful turkey industry in Minnesota. The state ranks #1 for turkey production and processing in the U.S. with its 250 turkey farmers expected to raise approximately 45 million turkeys this year. Minnesota has the most family-owned turkey farms of any state in the U.S. and many of these turkey producers are 3rd, 4th and 5th generation farmers. For more information, visit www.minnesotaturkey.com.

Turkey To Go: A State Fair Staple Since 1958!

For immediate release

Contact:

Vanessa Tait, Group Leaf LLC Lara Durben, Minnesota Turkey Growers Association

Ph: 651/308-8027 Ph: 763/682-2171 (office) or 612/554-0920 (cell)

vanessa@groupleaf.com lara@minnesotaturkey.com

Turkey Drumstick Goes “Buffalo”; Concession Stand Gets Facelift

(Buffalo, MN) … Now it its 52nd year, Turkey To Go concession will serve up the tastiest turkey at the 2010 Minnesota State Fair. The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA), which owns the concession, also announces a new look to the concession stand and a new flavor option for its slow-roasted turkey drumstick.

The concession has received some major improvements, according to MTGA Executive Director Steve Olson. “New siding, a new roof and new signage will definitely spruce up the outside of the building. Inside, several improvements are being made to ensure that our building is in top-notch shape and our customers continue to enjoy the Turkey To Go experience.”

Fairgoers will certainly notice the new rooftop sign, which will be illuminated by environmentally-friendly LED lighting, courtesy of Once Innovations, an Allied Member of MTGA based in Plymouth, MN. Many turkey farmers use this same LED lighting in their turkey barns.

Of course, what really counts at the State Fair is the turkey! Turkey To Go will continue to serve its popular Giant Juicy Turkey sandwich and Slow-Roasted Turkey Drumstick, according to Drew Levin of Turkey To Go. “Customers will be able to order our roasted drumstick with a sweet glaze, naked (original), or our new buffalo sauce that kicks it up a notch.”

The sandwich will sell for $6, while the drumstick is priced at $7. Also on the menu is our refreshing lemonade with fresh raspberries and lime.

For the third straight year, a portion of every sale at Turkey To Go will be donated to Hunger Solutions Minnesota (www.hungersolutions.org), an organization that is dedicated to ending hunger. “Minnesota’s turkey producers are proud to share the success they have had over the past 51 years at the State Fair with Minnesotans who may be struggling to put food on their tables this year,” said Olson.

About Turkey To Go

Turkey To Go concession is located at 1256 Clough Avenue, next door to the All-You-Can-Drink Milk Stand.

Fans can find Turkey To Go on Facebook – www.facebook.com/turkeytogo.

Turkey To Go also opened up a mobile food cart in August in downtown Minneapolis. The food stand serves the same menu and can be found most days at South 8th Street and Nicollet Mall. A second location option at South 6th Street and Hennepin Avenue is utilized during Minnesota Twins’ home games. For up-to-date location information, follow Turkey To Go on Twitter: www.twitter.com/turkeytogo.

About MTGA

MTGA is a nonprofit trade organization that began in 1939 with a mission to foster a successful turkey industry in Minnesota. The state ranks #1 for turkey production and processing in the U.S. with its 250 turkey farmers expected to raise approximately 45 million turkeys this year. Minnesota has the most family-owned turkey farms of any state in the U.S. and many of these turkey producers are 3rd, 4th and 5th generation farmers. For more information, visit www.minnesotaturkey.com.

– 30 –

Minnesota’s Farmers Offer “Free Groceries for a Year!”

For immediate release

Minneapolis, MN. (Aug. 9, 2010) – Whoever said there’s no such thing as a free lunch has never met Minnesota’s farmers. In fact, they are offering the chance for all Minnesota residents to win a free breakfast, lunch and dinner by way of free groceries– for an entire year.

Beginning today, Minnesota residents can register for two grand prizes of “Free Groceries for a Year!”* courtesy of Minnesota’s farmers, at www.FarmersFeedUS.org. Upon visiting the site, consumers register by “meeting a Minnesota farmer” through a short video that shows how they produce safe, nutritious and affordable food. Consumers can register with each of the nine featured farmers daily through Nov. 6, the end of the 90-day program.

The Farmers Feed US website features beef, chicken, corn, dairy, egg, hog, soybean, and turkey farmers from across the state, each sharing information about their farm and their family. In addition to guiding visitors through their registration for free groceries, each farmer also offers a brief online tour of their farm.

Featured farmers include:

· Brian Asmus, egg farmer, Winthrop

· Judy Bode, hog farmer, Courtland

· Shannon Kuball, dairy farmer, Waterville

· Kent Meschke, turkey farmer, Little Falls

· Brian Schafer, cattle farmer, Goodhue

· Greg Schwarz, corn farmer, Le Sueur

· Charity Vold, dairy farmer, Glenwood

· Matt Widboom, soybean farmer, Worthington

· Bill Wuertz, chicken farmer, Paynesville


“As Minnesota farmers, we’re thrilled to offer free groceries for a year to the consumers of our great state,” said Shannon Kuball, a dairy farmer from Waterville, Minnesota, who is a featured farmer on FarmersFeedUS.org. “This is an opportunity for us to share what we produce with Minnesota consumers and to let them know we share their values – taking care of our families, taking care of our animals and land and giving back to our communities.”


Over the course of the 90-day campaign, consumers throughout the state will also see and hear from these farmers as they are featured in television advertising and on Facebook and Twitter.


Participating Minnesota agriculture groups include the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota Pork Board, Midwest Dairy Association, Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, Minnesota Farm Bureau, Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion Council, Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council, Broiler and Egg Association of Minnesota, Minnesota Beef Council, and Gold n’ Plump.

*Based on Food Marketing Institute figures, a $5,000 value.


# # #

Mark Crouser
mark.crouser@foodintegrity.org
(816) 556-3134

The Center for Food Integrity is a not-for-profit corporation established to build consumer trust and confidence in the contemporary U.S. food system. Our members, who represent every segment of the food system, are committed to providing accurate information and addressing important issues among all food system stakeholders. The Center does not lobby or advocate for individual food companies or brands. For more information, visit www.foodintegrity.org.

Turkey To Go Goes Mobile – To Streets of Minneapolis

For Immediate Release

Contacts:

Lara Durben, MTGA | 763/682-2171 | lara@minnesotaturkey.com

Drew Levin, Turkey To Go | 352/246-8321 | drewlevin68@gmail.com

(July 29, 2010) … Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA), owner of the Turkey To Go Concession at the Minnesota State Fair, is pleased to announce the opening of a Turkey To Go mobile food trailer on the streets of Minneapolis.

Best known for its “Giant Juicy Turkey Sandwich,” the Turkey To Go mobile food trailer will be operating the first week in August, according to Steve Olson, MTGA Executive Director. “Our target opening date is August 3. This is a new venture for Turkey To Go, and we’re excited to be dishing up our tasty turkey along with the addition of some new sweet treats.”

Customers can satisfy their craving for our turkey sandwich at one of two downtown Minneapolis locations:

  • Corner of South 8th Street and Nicollet Mall
  • Corner of South 6th Street and Hennepin Avenue

The mobile trailer will typically be at the 8th and Nicollet location during the lunch rush and move to South 6th Street and Hennepin in the evening.

Turkey To Go’s mobile locations will be listed on www.minnesotaturkey.com and also available on Twitter – simply follow @TurkeyToGo to find out exactly when and where the mobile food unit will be.

The mobile Turkey To Go will be offering the same Minnesota grown items as served at the State Fair, including the Giant Juicy Turkey Sandwich, Marinated Turkey Drumsticks (available in various flavors) and lemonade with fresh raspberries and lime. In addition to these signature items, the mobile trailer will be offering build-your-own ice cream sandwiches.

“The ice cream and cookies are made from scratch locally and are a delicious addition to our menu options,” said Drew Levin of Turkey To Go.

The mobile food trailer was made possible after the Minneapolis City Council passed an ordinance in April allowing the operation of licensed food carts.

About Turkey To Go

Turkey To Go Concession has been serving up turkey since 1959 at the Minnesota State Fair. The State Fair location is at 1256 Clough Avenue, next door to the All-You-Can-Drink Milk Stand. Turkey To Go is owned by the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA).

MTGA is a nonprofit trade association founded in 1939 to foster a successful turkey industry in Minnesota. Minnesota ranks #1 for turkey production and processing in the U.S. with its 250 turkey farmers expected to raise approximately 45 million turkeys this year. Minnesota has the most family-owned turkey farms of any state in the U.S. and many of these turkey producers are 3rd, 4th and 5th generation farmers.

For more information on Minnesota’s turkey industry, visit www.minnesotaturkey.com.

MTGA Announces 2010 Allied Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients

For Immediate Release
June 15, 2010
Contact: Lara Durben, lara@minnesotaturkey.com

(Buffalo, MN) … One recipient has spent 37 years in the agricultural lending industry while the other is known quite simply as “a legend” in the turkey industry. Both are well-deserving of an award they received from the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) last week in Duluth, MN.

Dr. G. Yan Ghazikhanian, Aviagen Turkeys, and Roger Refling, United FCS in Willmar, MN, were each honored with the 2010 MTGA Allied Lifetime Achievement Award at the organization’s 2010 Summer Meeting.

Photo cutlines: Dr. James Trites, Elanco Animal Health, and Dr. G. Yan Ghazikhanian, Aviagen Turkeys; and Roger Refling, United FCS, and Gregg Veldman, Novus International

The award is based on several criteria:

  • Long-term service to the industry (20+ years).
  • Long-term support of the MTGA.
  • Well-respected by peers and customers.
  • Commitment to enhance Minnesota’s turkey industry.

MTGA Allied Committee Chairman Gregg Veldman, Novus International, and Dr. James Trites, Elanco Animal Health, made the awards presentation.

Dr. Yan Ghazikhanian

“Dr. Yan Ghazikhanian is a leading figure in developing and implementing some very important disease eradication and poultry health programs and is quite simply considered a “legend” in his field and in the turkey industry,” said Trites.

Dr. Ghazikhanian, who is known throughout the world as “Dr. Yan,” has served Nicholas Turkeys (now Aviagen Turkeys) and the global turkey industry for over 30 years. In 1963 Dr. Yan received his D.V.M. from the University of Tehran in Iran. He then came to the United States where he earned his Masters and Ph.D. in microbiology and pathology at the University of California at Davis. While a graduate student, Dr. Yan conducted extensive research on Mycoplasma meleagridis and Mycoplasma synoviae.

After achieving his Ph.D., Dr. Yan started his career with USDA/APHIS as head of the Diagnostic Mobile Laboratory in the Exotic Newcastle Task Force. His work in that field earned him two certificates of achievement from USDA/APHIS and the California Department of Agriculture.

In 1974 Dr. Yan joined Nicholas as a staff veterinarian and was appointed director of veterinary medicine in 1983. During his career Dr. Yan has traveled widely in customer service and is well known and appreciated for his abilities as a practical field diagnostician. He has spent many days in turkey barns around the world, working with customers to diagnose, treat and prevent health problems.

Dr. Yan also conducted research and diagnostic work for Nicholas. He was particularly instrumental in the successful program to eliminate Mycoplasma meleagridis (or “MM”) from all Nicholas breeding stock and assisted customers in the implementation of MM programs at the parent stock level. Dr. Yan also eradicated Mycoplasma iowae from Nicholas breeding stock in the early 1990’s.

In the late 70’s and early 80’s, Dr. Yan eradicated Salmonella arizonae from Nicholas breeding stock and led the way in developing salmonella eradication strategies at primary and multiplier breeding levels throughout the turkey industry.

Dr. Yan has served as president of the American Association of Avian Pathologists, was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to the General Conference Committee of the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP), and he served on the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association Research Advisory Committee.

At the University of California at Davis, Dr. Yan was made Honorary Clinical Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine in the veterinary school. In 2002 the California Poultry Federation bestowed on Dr. Yan its highest honor, The Golden Rooster award and in 2008 the American Association of Avian Pathologists granted Dr. Yan a lifetime membership.

Dr. Yan is still very active in the poultry industry, working with Aviagen and its customers on a part time basis. He and his wife Cheryl continue to reside in Sonoma, California and they have a daughter, a son and three grandchildren.

Roger Refling, United FCS

“Roger Refling is well known within the agricultural banking industry in Minnesota, having worked in a variety of capacities for Farm Credit Services for 37 years, and he has been a long-time member and supporter of both MTGA and the National Turkey Federation,” said Veldman.

Mr. Refling graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Business Administration. He served in the Air Force for three years, and then started his employment career working for the Federal Housing Administration for one year before starting with Farm Credit Services.

Since 1973 Roger has worked for the Farm Credit System in a number of relationship management and administration positions. Including:

o 8 years as Branch Manager in Canby MN

o 4 years as the Vice President of Branch Operations for the Madison PCA Office

o 9 years as Special Accounts Officer for the Madison Branch of Farm Credit Services of MN Valley

o 11 years as Business Development Officer, 3 years as Sr. Credit Officer and 9 years as Vice President of Commercial Finance for Farm Credit Services of MN Valley in Willmar

o And his current position, which he has held since 2007, Vice President of AgriBusiness for United FCS in Willmar

Throughout his 37 year career with FCS, Roger has had a passion for agriculture and the customers he has served. He has been the company’s poultry expert for a number of years on staff and we are told he thoroughly enjoys working with the customers he has built relationships with.  Roger and his wife Joan have three grown children.

About MTGA

The MTGA, founded in 1939 and currently headquartered in Buffalo, MN, is a nonprofit association dedicated to fostering a successful Minnesota turkey industry and its ability to make positive contributions to consumers, the economy, the environment and its members. Minnesota is currently ranked #1 for turkey production in the U.S. with its 250 turkey farmers expected to raise approximately 45 million turkeys in 2010. Minnesota has the most independent turkey farmers of any state in the U.S. For further details, visit www.minnesotaturkey.com.

###