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.

Thanksgiving Week Kicks Off with Governor Dayton Talking Turkey

NEWS RELEASE

Contact:
Lara Durben, MTGA Communications Director
763/682-2171, cell 612/554-0920 or ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com
UPDATED:  11/24/14, 1:30 p.m.

St. Paul, MN (November 24, 2014) – Governor Mark Dayton welcomed the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) and two hen turkeys to the State Capitol today. The event marks a time-honored tradition, going back since the 1940s, of Minnesota’s Governor kicking off Thanksgiving week.

This year, the event holds special significance as MTGA is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2014. The organization was formed in 1939 by a group of turkey farmers who saw a need to come together to network and learn from each other, as well as advocate for turkey as a year-round protein option.

“Today we give thanks for our state’s strong agriculture industry and we reflect on the long and storied history of Minnesota’s turkey farmers. We are grateful our ability to provide food to a growing world population – including the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving table, the turkey,” said MTGA President and turkey farmer John Gorton, Pelican Rapids, Minn.

At the event, Gorton announced the donation of approximately 13,000 pounds of turkey (value – approximately $13,000) to Hunger Solutions Minnesota (HSM), which will be distributed to food shelves and food banks across the state.

We know there are many families who struggle to put food on the table,” said Gorton. “Minnesota’s turkey farmers are committed to helping do their part to combat hunger with our annual donation to Hunger Solutions Minnesota.”

The turkey donated today will feed 19,500 people.

Gorton is a 3rd generation family farmer who raises about 125,000 turkeys each year.

Since 2001, MTGA has donated 215,000 pounds of turkey to various areas of the state – or enough turkey to feed over 275,000 people (roughly the population of Saint Paul).  This year, this donation provides turkeys to families in communities such as Cannon Falls, Faribault, Melrose, Willmar, Thief River Falls, Frazee, Perham and Buffalo.

These funds have been raised from contributions by Minnesota’s turkey farmers and MTGA allied members as well as a portion of the sales from MTGA’s Turkey To Go restaurant at the Minnesota State .

HSM, a comprehensive hunger relief organization that works to end hunger in Minnesota, will coordinate the purchase and distribution of the turkey.

One in five Minnesota families struggles to put healthy meals on their tables.  The need for emergency food relief continues to be a problem in Minnesota even as our economy has improved.

“Hunger Solutions Minnesota is answering the call to end hunger with our Food HelpLine and new initiatives like the mobile food shelf network”, said Colleen Moriarty, Executive Director at Hunger Solutions.  “The unwavering generosity of Minnesota family farmers and the Minnesota Turkey Association has ripple effects throughout the state and onto the kitchen tables of needy Minnesota families.”

Approximately 450 turkey family farmers from Minnesota raise about 46 million birds annually, which places Minnesota at the #1 position in the U.S. for turkey production.

Current U.S. turkey production stands at 235 million this year – which means Minnesota farmers raise nearly 20% of all U.S. turkeys. U.S. turkey production was down about 3% overall this year; Minnesota saw a smaller drop in the 1-2% range. Approximately 95% of all Americans will eat turkey at Thanksgiving, according to the National Turkey Federation.

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 successful 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 $17.46 in economic value to the state – which means Minnesota’s turkeys and the farmers who raise them generate over $800 million in economic activity for the state.

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About MTGA

The MTGA, founded in 1939 and located 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 46 million turkeys in 2013. Minnesota has the most independent turkey farmers of any state in the U.S. For further information, visit www.minnesotaturkey.com or find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/MinnesotaTurkey and Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey).

About Hunger Solutions Minnesota
Hunger Solutions Minnesota works to end hunger by advancing fair nutrition policy and guiding grassroots advocacy on behalf of hungry Minnesotans and the diverse groups that serve them. We connect Minnesota’s food shelves and hunger-relief organizations with the necessary funding, technical assistance and logistical support to reach thousands of Minnesota individuals, families and children in need. Our work is made possible through the generous support of donors across the country; each sharing our commitment to ensuring no Minnesotan will struggle with food insecurity alone.  For further information, visit www.hungersolutions.org/, on Twitter @hungersolutions or on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/HungerSolutionsMinnesota

Myth-Busting: Turkey Style

For immediate release

Contact: Lara Durben, Phone: 763/682-2171 | Mobile: 612/554-0920, ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

 

MYTH:

Turkeys are pumped full of added hormones and steroids so they fatten up quickly.

TRUTH:

All turkeys in the U.S. are raised without any added hormones and steroids. There are no hormones or steroids approved by the FDA for use in poultry and haven’t been since the 1950s. Turkeys are fed a healthy diet of whole and pelleted grains as well as vitamins. Feed for turkeys comes from Minnesota’s soybean and corn farmers. Turkeys always have access to fresh, clean water.

 

MYTH:

Turkeys are cooped up in barns, so close together they can’t move.

TRUTH:

Turkeys are raised in barns that provide a safe, comfortable home with plenty of space to move around.  Barns – which are specially designed just for turkeys – keep predators away, help farmers control germs and diseases from getting to the birds, and allow maximum comfort – turkeys stay cool in the summer, warm in the winter, and dry during inclement weather. Turkeys are not raised in cages.

 

MYTH:

The use of antibiotics in turkey production doesn’t have any oversight and turkey farmers use a litany of antibiotics regardless of whether their birds are sick or healthy.

TRUTH:

Antibiotic use in turkeys is overseen by veterinarians and follows strict guidelines.  Approved antibiotics in poultry production can be used to 1) individually treat sick birds, 2) control disease within an entire flock that has sick birds in it; and 3) to prevent disease completely. Depending on the situation, a farmer may choose to treat only the birds that are sick with antibiotics, but it is also true that a farmer may want to administer antibiotics to an entire flock after some sick birds in the flock are diagnosed. As is the case with humans and germs, sick birds can spread illness to healthy birds pretty quickly so sometimes the best way to ensure a flock stays as healthy as possible is to treat all the birds with medication.

Some poultry companies have announced they are ending the use of antibiotics for the overall prevention of disease; however, they will continue to use antibiotics as needed to treat sick birds and control disease within an entire flock because it’s the right thing to do for the birds. Turkey farmers feel it is the humane thing to do to treat sick birds with antibiotics, if that is the treatment prescribed by a veterinarian. We don’t know any farmer who wants to see his or her birds suffer from illness.

If antibiotics are prescribed to a flock, there is a mandatory withdrawal period and random testing by USDA before the birds can be processed, insuring that there are absolutely no antibiotic residues in the birds when they go to market.

 

MYTH:

There are very few family farmers who raise turkeys.

TRUTH:

Most turkey farms are operated by family farmers. Minnesota has the most independent turkey farmers of any U.S. state. and many of our 450 turkey farmers are 3rd, 4th and even 5th generation farm families.

 

MYTH:

Eating turkey makes you very tired.

TRUTH:

No, it’s not the turkey’s fault! Recent studies have shown that it is more likely a large, carbohydrate-rich meal – like the kind we eat at Thanksgiving – rather than just the turkey that causes sleepiness.  A carb-heavy meal like this releases tryptophans in the brain, causing drowsiness.

 

MYTH:

I have to get up at 4 a.m. to roast the turkey for Thanksgiving.

TRUTH:

Not these days! A whole turkey (unstuffed) that’s 8-12 pounds will take 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 hours to roast (a little longer if you stuff the turkey), so if you are planning a noon feast, you do not have to get up at 4 a.m.  And remember – the best measurement of doneness is with a meat thermometer that reaches 180 degrees in the thigh and 165 degrees in the breast.

 

MYTH:

Turkey is only eaten during the holidays in November and December.

TRUTH:

More and more Americans realize turkey isn’t just for the holidays. Although 50 percent of all turkey consumed in 1970 was during the holidays, today that number is around 31 percent. Incidentally, 95% of Americans will eat turkey at Thanksgiving this year.

 

MYTH:

The white meat of a turkey is better for you than dark meat.

TRUTH:

No matter what your preference, turkey is a lean source of protein with plenty of nutrient advantages. While a 3 oz. portion of turkey breast has 20 fewer calories and 3 more grams of protein than a similar-sized portion of turkey thigh, the dark meat actually has a higher mineral count and more iron, zinc and selenium.

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Sources: Minnesota Turkey Research & Promotion Council, National Turkey Federation, JennieO.com, Butterball.com, Food Network.com.

Minnesota Turkey Debuts New Website Just in Time for Thanksgiving!

NEWS RELEASE

Contact:  Lara Durben, MTGA Communications Director, 763/682-2171, mobile 612/554-0920 or ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

Buffalo, Minn. (November 10, 2014) – The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) has announced the launch of its new website, www.minnesotaturkey.com.

The website features a plethora of information and videos on Minnesota’s 450 turkey farmers, which rank #1 for turkey production in the U.S. Sections of the website also highlight facts and myths about the turkey, a bird native to North America and the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving meal. Minnesota’s turkey farmers raise 46 million turkeys annually.

In addition, the website features tools for students and teachers; links for recipes and safe food handling in the kitchen; and a section that highlights MTGA and its sister organization, the Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council.

“This website revamp has been several months in the making and we really focused on showing people the farmers behind the turkeys,” said Steve Olson, MTGA Executive Director. “We have several new videos that highlight farmers this month, as they talk about what they love about raising turkeys and what they’d like consumers to know about turkey farming.

This section – titled “Real Farmers | Real Farms” aims to bring turkey farmers closer to people who may not know much about what it’s like to live on a farm or raise animals for food production. The videos can found here: www.minnesotaturkey.com/farmers/real-farmers-real-farms/ and are easily share-able on social media platforms.

MTGA is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. The organization, founded in 1939, has the most independent turkey farmers of any state in the U.S. and is also home to three successful 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 employ nearly 8,000 people and have created over 2,000 turkey products for the consumer and foodservice markets that are shipped across the country and the world.

U.S. turkey production stands at 246 million – which means Minnesota farmers raise nearly 20% of all U.S. turkeys. Approximately 95% of all Americans will eat turkey at Thanksgiving, according to the National Turkey Federation.

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About MTGA

The MTGA, located 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 450 turkey farmers raising an estimated 46 million turkeys annually. For further information, visit www.minnesotaturkey.com or find us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MinnesotaTurkey), Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey), Pinterest (www.pinterest.com/minnesotaturkey) and YouTube (www.youtube.com/minnesotaturkey).

 

Turkey To Go and Minnesota Turkey – Two Classics at the State Fair

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release

Contact:                                                                                                      

Lara Durben, Minnesota Turkey Growers Association

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

ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

 

(Buffalo, MN) … With the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) celebrating its 75th anniversary this year as an organization, and its concession stand, Turkey To Go, entering its 56th year at the Minnesota State Fair, there’s a whole lot of history worth celebrating!

MTGA was formed in 1939 by several turkey farmers in the state who wanted an organization that could bring the turkey industry together and collectively work to improve and expand turkey production in Minnesota. Several decades later, the organization was going strong and turkey farmers were looking for new ways to promote the consumption of turkey on a large scale. Participating in the Minnesota State Fair was an obvious choice.

In 1958, the humble beginnings of Turkey To Go started, first under a rented canvas covered frame and the name “Turkey Teria” and later, several new buildings along the way, Turkey To Go grew into what it is today – a perennial State Fair favorite concession stand. In fact, in 2012 Turkey To Go was named the very first “People’s Choice for Best Fair Food or Beverage”, voted on by fairgoers.

Today, Turkey To Go is still owned by the MTGA with day-to-day operations handled by The Turkey Guys. While MTGA handles much of the behind-the-scenes details of the operation prior to and during the State Fair and is responsible for upkeep to the building and equipment, The Turkey Guys – better known as Drew Levin and Daniel Perkins – bring in their staff to run the concession stand, including cooking and serving up turkey to hungry fairgoers.

MTGA Executive Director Steve Olson says the goal of Turkey To Go isn’t much different than 56 years ago – to showcase to fairgoers that turkey can be a delicious, nutritious option for meals all year-long.

“Turkey has always been the centerpiece of the classic Thanksgiving meal, but today, it’s so much more than that,” said Olson. “Minnesota’s turkey companies have developed over 2,000 different turkey products so consumers can enjoy a variety of different cuts and recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  That type of innovation and the knowledge and expertise of our multi-generational turkey farm families have led to Minnesota’s growth over the last 75 years to the #1 turkey-producing state in the nation.”

Also a long-standing tradition at the State Fair, MTGA is proud to announce that 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. This is the seventh straight year of continuing this tradition of giving back.

“Minnesota’s 450 family farmers have 75 years of history behind them, raising the highest quality turkey for consumers,” said Olson. “We’re humbled by these many decades of success and we’re looking forward to what the future will bring.”

About Turkey To Go

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

Turkey To Go’s Giant Juicy Turkey Sandwich comes in its original version or a gigantic half-pound option. The concession stand also serves up its popular roasted turkey drumsticks. Topping choices for these items include: bleu cheese crumbles and buffalo sauce; brie cheese and cranberry sauce; and crispy chopped bacon and sweet glaze.

Turkey To Go’s mobile food cart locations in downtown serve the same menu and can be found most weekdays during lunch at South 8th Street and Nicollet Mall.  A second location 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 (@TurkeyToGo).

In addition, Turkey To Go has two locations in Target Field during Minnesota Twins’ home games (between sections 112-113 and also in 318), and is open year-round with an expanded menu in the Baker Building food court (706 2nd Avenue South, downtown Minneapolis) from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on weekdays.

Fans can find Turkey To Go on Facebook (www.facebook.com/turkeytogo), Twitter (@TurkeyToGo), and at www.turkeytogo.com.

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 450 turkey farmers raising approximately 46 million turkeys annually. 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 or www.facebook.com/MinnesotaTurkey.  You can also find Minnesota Turkey on Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey) and Pinterest (www.pinterest.com/MinnesotaTurkey).

– 30 –

Propane Concerns Result in Senate Legislation

Source: National Turkey Federation

Propane Concerns Result in Senate Legislation

“Propane Supply for Heating Act of 2014”
Sets transparency, gives clear authority and improves availability

Washington, DC – The National Turkey Federation (NTF) along with state, regional and federal leaders has been working since last winter with top senators to provide solutions to ensure adequate cold-weather propane supplies. Today, U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-MN) introduced “Propane Supply for Heating Act of 2014,” cosponsored by Senate Energy Committee’s top leadership, including Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).

“Last winter’s lessons must be apliped to safeguard the lives and livelihood of rural residents dependent on propane for farmhouses and livestock barns before the arrival of bitter cold temperatures and uncertain heating supplies,” said Joel Brandenberger, NTF President.

“The Propane Supply for Heating Act of 2014” provides for:
– Information collection that will allow for additional transparency
– Department of Energy coordinated federal and state emergency response
– Study Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) role regarding propane markets
– Examine the feasibility of a Midwest Home Heating Propane Reserve
– Low interest loans through USDA for propane tank purchases

“Minnesota’s poultry farmers thank Senator Al Franken for his tireless efforts to correct a system that is currently broken and needs further oversight. The legislation he introduced today will go a long way toward improving the transparency and availability of propane supplies for both farmers and homeowners to prevent a repeat of last winter’s crisis,” said Steve Olson, Executive Director of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA).

In testimony before the Senate Energy Committee in May, John Zimmerman, an NTF board member and past president of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association, discussed the slow pace of determining regulatory authority to assist during a critical and immediate threat.

“What was most troubling last winter was the lack of transparency. Sens. Portman and Franken focus on the issue is reassuring,” said Jim Chakeres Executive, Vice President of the Ohio Poultry Association. “This legislation is a positive step to ensure Midwestern farmers and families don’t have to go cold again and be forced to ration their propane supply.”

The bitter cold of last winter stressed already low inventories of propane used to dry a wet, late fall corn harvest. Regional pipeline maintenance then strangled distribution by half, forcing canceled delivery contracts and a supply scramble when prices surged from $1.30 per gallon to more than $8 per gallon, gouging deep into turkey growers’ very thin operating margins. Lowering thermostats in barns and farmhouses to ration propane caused a loss of production efficiency and concern for the welfare of the animals. The statewide impact of protecting turkeys from the killing freeze in Minnesota totaled $25 million more than the previous winter, before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission stepped in to order priority pipeline distribution of propane.

— 30 —

MTGA Announces 2014-15 President, Executive Committee

News Release

For immediate release

Contact:  Lara Durben

Phone:     (763) 682-2171

E-mail:      ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

Officers Hail from Pelican Rapids, Redwood Falls, Willmar & Northfield

(Buffalo, MN)… John Gorton, Gorton Turkeys, Pelican Rapids, Minn., has been elected President of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) and Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council (MTRPC) for 2014-15.

“2014 is our 75th anniversary of MTGA as an organization. In order to create our future, we will need to continue to identify opportunities and meet challenges head on,” said Gorton after officially being handed the presidential gavel at the MTRPC-MTGA Annual Meeting on March 19 in Saint Paul, Minn. “The most effective way to do that is to continue our model of industry cooperation and partnerships with other agriculture organizations, the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Board of Animal Health.”

Gorton has spent his entire life in the turkey industry, including 19 active years as an adult – the early years with Jennie-O Turkey and later with this father.  Gorton Turkeys raises over 500,000 turkeys (a combination of both hens and toms) annually.

John is currently serving his third term on the MTGA and MTRPC Boards. He also has been a featured farmer for the Farmers Feed Us program in Minnesota. John, his wife Trudy and family live in Pelican Rapids and have two sons. He is an active member of the Pelican Rapids Jaycees and volunteers as a Den Leader for Cub Scouts.

Gorton succeeds John Zimmerman, who officially steps into the Past President role. Zimmerman runs the family farm – P & J Products, Northfield, MN – along with his mother, Karen Zimmerman. He has been in the turkey industry all his life and P & J Products raise approximately 3-4 million pounds of turkey annually and also raise 500 acres of corn and soybeans.

John, who is serving his third term on the MTGA and MTRPC Boards,  graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in animal science. He also is a graduate of the Minnesota Agricultural Rural Leadership Program (MARL) and spent several years serving on the Board of Directors of MARL. In addition, he is board secretary of the River County Co-op. He and his wife, Kara, live in Northfield.

The remaining two members of the MTGA / MTRPC Executive Committee are Vice President  Gene Brownfield, Winter Creek Farms, Redwood Falls, Minn., and Treasurer Robert Orsten, Orsten Turkeys of Willmar, Minn.

Secretary-Treasurer Gene Brownfield  currently raises hens on farms in Renville and Brown counties. Gene is serving his third term on the MTGA and MTRPC Boards and also represents MTGA on the Minnesota Ag Water Resources Coalition (MAWRC).

Gene currently serves as an Elder at Cornerstone Christian Church and is a director in several local and state ministries. He also serves on several boards and volunteers in community activities. Gene and his wife Janette have two children, Dean, who runs the family farm, and Jayne who lives in Waconia. They also follow the activities of three active grandsons. Gene’s hobbies include fishing and relaxing at the lake cabin.

Treasurer Robert Orsten has worked 23 years in the turkey industry. With farms in Kandiyohi and Swift counties, his family raises 70,000 breeder turkeys and also grows corn, beans and hay. He is serving his third term on the MTGA and MTRPC Boards.

Robert served on the school board for Community Christian School eight years; four years as secretary and four years as president. He is currently a township supervisor, elected in 2008. He and his wife, Rochelle, have five children: Talia, Autumn, RJ, Brady and James. His hobbies include boating, camping, spending time with family and friends, raising Hereford cattle and his kids’ sporting events.

About MTGA

The MTGA, founded in 1939 and located 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 2013. Minnesota has the most independent turkey farmers of any state in the U.S. For further details, visit , www.minnesotaturkey.com, find us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MinnesotaTurkey) and follow us on Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey).

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Photo cutline:  From left, Treasurer Robert Orsten, Past President John Zimmerman and President John Gorton; not pictured is Vice President Gene Brownfield.

MN Turkey Council Board Election Results Announced

News Release

For immediate release

Contact:  Lara Durben

Phone:    (763) 682-2171

E-mail:     ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

 

Directors Hail from Princeton, Redwood Falls, Rothsay, Willmar and Wood Lake

(Buffalo, MN)…Five people have been elected to the 16-member Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council (MTRPC) Board of Directors according to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), the agency responsible for conducting and certifying agricultural promotion council elections. The election was conducted by mail-in ballot in January.

The newly elected directors are:

Region 1

Scott Heymer, Princeton

Region 2

Paul Kvistad, Wood Lake

At-Large Positions

Gene Brownfield, Redwood Falls

Robert Orsten, Willmar

Max Velo, Rothsay

Incumbents elected to their third terms on the Board include Gene Brownfield and Robert Orsten; new Directors are Scott Heymer, Paul Kvistad and Max Velo.

All five elected Board members will serve three-year terms and all assumed their seats on March 1.  These directors will also serve on the Board of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA).

The board meets approximately six times per year to guide MTRPC’s activities. Board members also serve as advocates for Minnesota’s turkey industry. Turkey farmers pay a percentage of their sale proceeds to MTRPC, which uses those funds to pay for promotion, communication and research activities aimed at increasing producer profitability.

Elected directors are listed alphabetically below, along with biographical information:

Gene Brownfield (Grower-At-Large)

Gene Brownfield currently produces hens on farms in Renville and Brown counties.

This is Gene’s third term on the MTGA and MTRPC Boards and he currently serves as Vice President. He also represents MTGA on the Minnesota Ag Water Resources Coalition (MAWRC).

Gene currently serves as an Elder at Cornerstone Christian Church and is a director in several local and state ministries. He also serves on several boards and volunteers in community activities. Gene and his wife Janette have two children, Dean, who runs the family farm, and Jayne who lives in Waconia. They also follow the activities of three active grandsons. Gene’s hobbies include fishing and relaxing at the lake cabin.

Paul Kvistad (Region 2)

Paul Kvistad, a second generation turkey farmer from Yellow Medicine County, owns and operates Paul Kvistad Poultry, which produces 200,000 light hens per year.  This is Paul’s first term on the MTGA and MTRPC Boards.

Currently Paul is serving on the Education/Workforce Committee for MTGA and has been on the board of the Yellow Medicine County Corn Growers for 15 years.  He served as a past member/president for the Echo Lions Club for 12 years and a past board member for the Farmers Co-op Elevator for 9 years.  In addition, he continues to usher at Swan Lake Church.

Paul and his wife Jamie have three sons:  Hunter, Payton and Brock.  In his spare time, he enjoys watching their sons’ sporting events, fishing and spending time at their lake home.

 

Scott Heymer (Region 1)

Scott Heymer, the owner of Red Bridge Farms, Inc. in Princeton, has been involved in the turkey industry for 38 years. Annually he raises 150,000 heavy toms and this is Scott’s first term on the MTGA and MTRPC Boards.

Scott and his wife Lennea have been married for 30 years and have two children:  Becky and Brian.  Brian has joined them in working on the farm.  Scott enjoys camping, kayaking, ice fishing and deer hunting.

Robert Orsten (Breeder-At-Large)

Robert Orsten has worked 23 years in the turkey industry. With farms in Kandiyohi and Swift counties, his family raises 70,000 breeder turkeys and also grows corn, beans and hay. This is Robert’s third term on the MTGA and MTRPC Boards and he currently serves as Treasurer.

Robert served on the school board for Community Christian School eight years; four years as secretary and four years as president. He is currently a township supervisor, elected in 2008.

He and his wife, Rochelle, have five children: Talia, Autumn, RJ, Brady and James. His hobbies include boating, camping, spending time with family and friends, raising Hereford cattle and his kids’ sporting events.

Max Velo (Grower At Large)

Max has been actively involved in the turkey industry for 10 years.  With a farm in Ottertail County, he raises 400,000 hens per year.  This is Max’s first term on the MTGA and MTRPC Boards.

Max’s family consists of Piper, Daryl, Kelsey, Alanna and Nita. In his spare time he enjoys music and reading books.

About MTGA

The MTGA, founded in 1939 and located 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 2013. Minnesota has the most independent turkey farmers of any state in the U.S. For further details, visit , www.minnesotaturkey.com, find us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MinnesotaTurkey) and follow us on Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey)

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Gene Brinton, Willmar, Minn., Honored with MTGA’s Most Prestigious Award

News Release

For immediate release

Contact:  Lara Durben

Phone:     (763) 682-2171

E-mail:      ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

(Buffalo, MN )  … The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) presented its prestigious Ranelius Award Gene Brinton, Willmar, Minn., at its annual meeting on March 19 in Saint Paul, Minn.

“The Ranelius Award is the most prestigious honor given by the MTGA,” said John Zimmerman, 2013-14 MTGA President. “It signifies leadership and dedication to the industry based on contributions made to enhance Minnesota’s turkey industry, and Gene Brinton is well deserved of this special honor.”

Gene is originally from Ellsworth, Iowa, where he was raised on the family farm that he still owns today.  His lifelong involvement with the care and management of turkeys began as a young boy in the 1940s while helping his father and his brothers raise turkeys on their farms.

Gene’s career has always been dedicated to the turkey industry. His first job after getting married was working for Don “Chick” Thoreson at the Ellsworth Turkey Hatchery and from there Gene moved on to work for turkey nutrition based companies while also raising turkeys as an independent grower.  Several years later, Gene was given the opportunity to join Farmland CO-OP as a turkey health and nutrition specialist and remained with Farmland until the late 60s when he moved his family from Ellsworth, Iowa to Willmar, Minnesota to become a sales representative for the I.D. Russell Company.

In the late 1970s, Gene decided it was time to pursue his lifelong dream to have his own company and in 1980 founded Brinton Veterinary Supply, Inc. (BVS), a veterinary supply company specializing in turkey health and husbandry products.  Over the next several years Gene expanded the company to include nutrition consulting, a federally licensed veterinary vaccine production laboratory (Brinton Laboratories), and a diagnostic laboratory (Brinton Veterinary Services later known as Poultry Veterinary Centers).

Through the years, Gene has always been dedicated to developing effective quality health products for the turkey industry and received a patent for a product that reduces diarrhea in turkeys, acquired federal licenses for vaccine products, and also established multiple trademark turkey health products.

Gene continued to successfully lead Brinton Veterinary Supply until his retirement in 2001 when BVS was renamed Best Veterinary Solutions and was purchased by Wes Thoreson and Randy Olsen who continue to offer quality health and husbandry products to the turkey industry.

Although retired, Gene continues to be active in the turkey grower community and enjoys participating in associated golf outings and attending the Midwest Poultry Federation Convention each year, but most of all he enjoys seeing the many friends he has made over the years. Gene and his wife Nola have been married for 62 years and have two children, Jackie Brinton Mourning and Dr.  M. Kim Brinton, both of whom have worked alongside Gene in the turkey industry.

The Ranelius Award is named for Sven Ranelius, a founding father of the MTGA, often described as a quiet, unselfish person who was very dedicated to the turkey industry in Minnesota. Nominees are evaluated on two central criteria: their contribution to the industry over a period of time; and the quality of that contribution.

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About MTGA

The MTGA, founded in 1939 and located 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 2013. Minnesota has the most independent turkey farmers of any state in the U.S. For further details, visit , www.minnesotaturkey.com, find us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MinnesotaTurkey) and follow us on Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey)

Badger Family Receives Turkey Promoter of the Year

News Release

For immediate release

Contact:  Lara Durben

Phone:     (763) 682-2171

E-mail:      ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

 (Buffalo, MN )  … The Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council (MTRPC) has honored John and Joni Burkel and their five children with its 2014 “Turkey Promoter of the Year” award.

Burkel continued a long-standing tradition when he stepped into the role of the National Turkey Federation (NTF) Chairman in 2013 – making him the 11th Minnesotan to serve in this prestigious role. As part of that role, Burkel and his family set about to raise the National Thanksgiving Turkey that would get pardoned by President Obama prior to Thanksgiving in November 2013.

“John and his family raised the bar for future Thanksgiving media campaigns with the work they did,” said MTRPC President John Zimmerman of Northfield, Minn.

The Burkel family did numerous media interviews with reporters and photographers across the U.S. and were deeply involved in the Presidential Turkey Project coordinated by MTRPC. The Burkels were featured on the front cover of the Wall Street Journal, Time magazine, CNN, a White House blog and many more media outlets. They also welcomed school visits to their farm and took every opportunity to promote turkey to a variety of audiences. This was all in addition to Burkel’s regular NTF business as Chairman and his day-to-day responsibilities on his Badger, Minn. turkey farm and with his family, which includes wife Joni and kids Vanessa, Andrea, Alex, Jack and Emily.

Said Zimmerman: “For the Burkel family’s willingness to give the nation a glimpse into their farm and family and as a token of our appreciation, we present you with our Promoter of the Year award.”

The award was presented at the MTRPC Annual Meeting on March 19 in Saint Paul, Minn.

For more information about the Promoter of the Year Award or the Minnesota Turkey Research & Promotion Council, please call 763/682-2171, email info@minnesotaturkey.com or visit www.Minnesotaturkey.com.

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Outgoing MTGA Board Directors Honored for Service, Dedication to Turkey Industry

News Release

For immediate release

Contact:  Lara Durben

Phone:     (763) 682-2171

E-mail:      ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

(Buffalo, MN)… Turkey farmers Duane Jaenicke, Roseau, Minn., Kent Meschke, Little Falls, Minn., and Phil Munson, Cokato, Minn., were honored by the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) and the Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council (MTRPC) for their many years of service to the organization’s Board of Directors at its Annual Meeting on March 19 in Saint Paul, Minn.

Jaenicke and Meschke both served three, three-year terms on the MTGA and MTRPC Board and are past presidents of these two organizations. Munson served one term on the MTGA and MTRPC Boards.

“On behalf of MTGA, I thank these three directors for their dedication and leadership to our organization,” said 2014 MTGA President John Zimmerman. “All have made significant contributions to our organization and Minnesota’s turkey industry and their commitment to both MTGA and to our industry has been invaluable.”

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About MTGA

The MTGA, founded in 1939 and located 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 2013. Minnesota has the most independent turkey farmers of any state in the U.S. For further details, visit , www.minnesotaturkey.com, find us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MinnesotaTurkey) and follow us on Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey)