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.

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Statement on USDA APHIS Announcement of Fall Preparedness & Response Plan for HPAI

Date: September 18, 2015

Please attribute to Steve Olson, Executive Director, Minnesota Turkey Growers Association

Minnesota’s turkey farmers have been working hard to prepare for any future introductions of highly-pathogenic avian influenza. The USDA’s plans are consistent with what have been our three major areas of focus: rapid response to an outbreak, strengthening biosecurity in and around our farms, and wild bird surveillance.

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Learn about Poultry Farming at Minnesota State Fair

For immediate release

Contact:                                                                                                      

  • Lara Durben, Minnesota Turkey Research & Promotion Council
  • Ph: 763/682-2171 (office) or 612/554-0920 (cell)
  • ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

(Buffalo, MN) … The Minnesota State Fair is the place to be to learn about poultry farming, with multiple locations throughout the fairgrounds dedicated to turkeys, chickens and egg laying hens.

The Poultry Barn – located on Clough Street across the street from Turkey To Go concession stand – will not be displaying live birds this year because of the highly-pathogenic avian influenza outbreak. However, there is a wealth of information planned for this space on Minnesota’s turkey farmers, including:

  • Watch “A Day in the Life of a Turkey Farmer” video , as farmer Scott Heymer of Red Bridge Farms, Princeton, Minnesota, walks you through the typical tasks of his day while also talking about the priorities of bird health, food safety, and protecting the environment. (View here: http://minnesotaturkey.com/farmers/farmer-videos/)
  • Take a “Turkey Selfie” in front of a photo backdrop of turkeys.
  • Thank a farmer by writing a postcard, generously provided by the Minnesota State Fair. Your card will be delivered to one of the many poultry farmers in Minnesota.
  • View the informative banners and other information about avian influenza and poultry production
  • Listen to presentations on poultry by veterinarians, farmers and others.

Minnesota Turkey Research & Promotion Council’s booth in the Dairy Building will feature:

  • A large pictorial display on the history of turkey farming
  • A comprehensive look at how turkey products get to your kitchen table
  • A fun turkey-cutout of a tom (male) and hen (female) turkey for photos
  • Free recipe cards and other brochures

Both the popular Miracle of Birth Center and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s booth in the Horticulture Building will display several informative banners on avian influenza and poultry production.

And don’t miss Gobble Gobble Cluck Cluck Day on Thursday, September 3 at the Christensen Farms Stage next to the Miracle of Birth Center, where a variety of fun and interactive activities will take place from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.:

  • Minute to Win It – Gobble Gobble Cluck Cluck Edition – a game show (with prizes!) for all ages where folks can hone their skills at an egg tower, feather challenge, ponginator, corn/soybean sort, and more!
  • Gobble Gobble Cluck Cluck Trivia Challenge – test your knowledge of all things poultry and win prizes!
  • Poultry Dance – Join Tom and Tillie Turkey as they dance their tailfeathers off to the ever-popular Chicken Dance!

“While live poultry will not be shown at the State Fair this year due to the highly-pathogenic avian influenza outbreak hitting Minnesota’s poultry industry this past spring, we’re confident that we have a variety of activities, displays, and information available for fairgoers who are interested in poultry farming,” said MTRPC Executive Director Steve Olson. “We are  especially grateful for the support and efforts of the Minnesota State Fair, FFA, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, and 4-H organizations as we all worked together to make this a positive poultry experience for fairgoers.”

About Minnesota Turkey Research & Promotion Council (MTRPC)

The Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council is an organization of turkey farmers that is recognized as a leading source for the latest turkey information.  Since 1965, the MTRPC has worked diligently to encourage consumers to eat more turkey year-round, sponsor innovative turkey research and educate a variety of audiences about the benefits of turkey. Programming at the MTRPC is funded by a voluntary grower checkoff program. MTRPC is the first agriculture checkoff organization in Minnesota’s history.

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).

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Turkey To Go Debuts Breakfast Sandwich at the Minnesota State Fair

For immediate release

Contact:                                                                                                      

(Buffalo, MN) … The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) – proud owners for 57 years of the Minnesota State Fair concession stand Turkey To Go – are excited to announce the debut of a breakfast sandwich this year.

The “Tasty Turkey Sunrise Sandwich” features our signature Turkey To Go product, an egg, and slice of American cheese on a bun. The sandwich retails for $7.00. Fairgoers will also have the option of swapping the bun for a croissant (additional $1.00 charge) and/or adding  turkey bacon, if they wish, also for an additional $1.00.

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

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 in 1958, when Minnesota’s turkey farmers had the foresight to envision turkey as a year-round protein choice with plenty of variety to suit everyone’s tastes.

“Our farmers and Minnesota’s turkey companies have always been leaders in innovation,” said Olson. “Well over 2,000 different turkey products are now available 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 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 eighth straight year of continuing this tradition of giving back.

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.

In addition to its new Tasty Turkey Sunrise Sandwich, Turkey To Go offers up the Giant Juicy Turkey Sandwich comes in its original version ($7.00) or a gigantic half-pound option ($9.00). The concession stand also serves its popular roasted turkey drumsticks ($8.00). Topping choices (additional $2.50 each) for any of these items include: bleu cheese crumbles and buffalo sauce; brie cheese and cranberry sauce; and crispy chopped bacon and sweet glaze. Prices for these items increased minimally for the first time since 2012 due to normal business operations.

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 one location in Target Center; 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).

 

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15 Fun Facts: Minnesota Turkey & Turkey To Go Concession

For immediate release

Contact:

  1. Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) has been serving up turkey at the Minnesota State Fair for 57 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.
  1. Turkey To Go was named the People’s Choice Award for “Best Food or Beverage” at the 2012 Minnesota State Fair!
  1. We expect to cook approximately 20,000 pounds of turkey at Turkey To Go this year for our Giant Juicy Turkey sandwiches.
  1. Turkey To Go is debuting a new breakfast sandwich in 2015 – the “Tasty Turkey Sunrise Sandwich” that includes our famous Turkey To Go pulled turkey, an egg, slice of American cheese on choice of bun ($7.00). Fairgoers can also swap the bun for a croissant for an additional $1.00. Turkey bacon can also be added for an additional $1.00.
  1. Turkey To Go has multiple locations around the Twin Cities for year-round customers. Up-to-date location information on a daily basis can be found at twitter.com/turkeytogo or visit www.turkeytogo.com for details.
    • Mobile food cart in downtown Minneapolis – On most weekdays during lunch, Turkey To Go’s Mobile food cart is located at South 8th Street and Nicollet Mall. During Minnesota Twins home games, the cart is set up at South 6th Street and Hennepin Avenue.
    • Target Field – Turkey To Go is behind home plate between sections 112 and 113 as well as outside Section 318.
    • Food court (indoor) location with an expanded menu in downtown Minneapolis in the Baker Building (skyway level), 706 Second Avenue South
    • Target Center
  1. Turkeys raised in the 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. (and there hasn’t been since the 1950s).
  1. Minnesota is ranked #1 for turkey production, processing, and hatching in the U.S. and is home to 450 turkey farmers who raise approximately 46 million turkeys annually on 600 farms. Minnesota has the most family-owned turkey farms of any state in the U.S. and many of our turkey producers are 3rd, 4th and 5th generation farmers.
  1. While some of Minnesota ‘s turkey farmers were hit hard in the spring of 2015 with avian influenza, farmers are optimistic and in the process of restocking their barns.
    • Avian influenza is a bird disease and poses no food safety risk to consumers. All flocks are tested for avian influenza well before going to market and any poultry identified with avian influenza are prohibited by law from entering the marketplace.
    • The risk of human infection is also very low and to date, avian influenza strains found in the U.S. have not been detected in humans.
  1. MTGA was formed in 1939 as a nonprofit trade association dedicated to fostering a successful turkey industry. Today MTGA and its sister organization, Minnesota Turkey Research Promotion Council – which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year – work on behalf of Minnesota’s turkey industry in the areas of research, promotion, public relations, issues management, education and government affairs.
  1. Nutritionally, turkey has more protein than chicken or beef – plus fewer calories with zero trans- and saturated fat.
  1. Our Giant Juicy Turkey Sandwich (eaten without the bun) and Jumbo Turkey Drumstick are gluten-free.
  1. MTGA’s Web site – minnesotaturkey.com – features links to turkey recipes for consumers and the foodservice industry. We also have recipes at our State Fair booth in the Dairy Building.
  1. Producing a quality, nutritious and safe product is the top priority for turkey farmers as well as turkey processing companies, which follow USDA guidelines for food safety. Consumers, too, need to do their part to ensure that turkey is handled properly in the kitchen and cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F., as measured by a food thermometer.
  1. And just for fun … MTGA’s partners who help us run Turkey To Go — The Turkey Guys — are also the stars of the HGTV show called “Renovate to Rent”.
  1. Find us on the Web at com or MinnesotaTurkey.com and on social media:
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U of MN: Economic impact of avian flu at nearly $310 million as of May 11

Source: University of Minnesota Extension

Media Contact: Allison Sandve, University of Minnesota Extension, office 612-626-4077, ajsandve@umn.edu

SAINT PAUL, Minn. (5/18/2015)–Losses in poultry production and related businesses due to avian influenza are estimated at $309.9 million in Greater Minnesota, according to a newly released emergency economic impact analysis from University of Minnesota Extension.

Using economic modeling, analysts determined that for every million dollars in direct losses, the estimated ripple effect leads to $1.8 million in overall economic losses, including $450,000 in wages. Ripple effect losses stem from factors including reduced wage-earner and business-to-business spending.

The Extension analysis put losses of poultry production–both turkeys and egg-laying chickens–at $113 million as of May 11.

“These projections represent where we stand as of May 11,” said Brigid Tuck, Extension senior analyst, who led the study. “If the virus affects more farms, as we have seen since May 11, the impact levels will rise. If barns stay empty for another cycle of poultry production, these numbers could potentially double”

Poultry production and processing is a $3 billion industry in the state; overall, poultry growers represent about 7 percent of the agricultural and forestry economy. The study focuses on the state’s 80 non-metro counties, where nearly all poultry production occurs. Among Extension’s other findings:

  • The industry that produces feed for poultry and other animals will be hardest hit by poultry production losses. For every $1 million of lost poultry production, nearly $230,000 of demand for poultry feed is lost.
  • For every 100 jobs lost due to reduced poultry processing, 9 are in the trucking industry.
  • Other job losses related to poultry processing are 6 and 7 per 100 jobs, respectively, in wholesale trade and specialized poultry processing.

The idling of 100 poultry processing jobs will result in an estimated 210 jobs being affected across all industries. Economic losses stemming per 100 poultry processing jobs impacted are estimated at $44.8 million, including $9.3 million in labor income.

Researchers noted that insurance and government compensation for producers may help alleviate losses for poultry producers, though the impact on other industries will not be offset.

“We know avian influenza is devastating, emotionally and financially, for growers and those whose businesses are connected to the poultry industry. These early estimates show its impact on farmers, Main Street, the industry and the state,” said economist Kent Olson, associate dean of Extension’s Center for Community Vitality. “This analysis is an initial look at the short- to immediate-term picture to give decision-makers context. We recommended a more detailed analysis take place once the avian influenza outbreak reaches a conclusion.”

About this report: University of Minnesota Extension senior economic impact analyst Brigid Tuck prepared this report using input-output analysis, which traces the flow of goods and services in an economy.

The report represents data occurring up to May 11, 2015. Projections were calculated based on data including 2014 poultry industry figures. Jobs include full-time, part-time and seasonal. Support from the EDA Center at the University of Minnesota Crookston helped fund this report.

An explanation of the economic impact modeling, as well as other considerations, can be found in the full report or at http://z.umn.edu/wat.


For more news from U of M Extension, visit www.extension.umn.edu/news or contact Extension Communications at extnews@umn.edu. University of Minnesota Extension is an equal opportunity educator and employer.

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Joint Statement – Halting Poultry Exhibitors at County Fairs, State Fair

Minnesota Turkey Logo CEAM Logo

Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA)  |  Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota (CEAM)

May 15, 2015

Attribute to: Steve Olson, Executive Director, MTGA and CEAM

We know the decision to halt poultry exhibitions at our county fairs and the Minnesota State Fair was not an easy one to make. This certainly affects the 4-H kids who plan for their projects all year long, and also means fewer opportunities for fairgoers across the state to learn about raising poultry.  However, this is the right decision because what’s most important at this point is protecting the health and well-being of the birds that are being raised by 4-H’ers, FFA members, and Minnesota’s poultry farmers.

As a former 4-Her myself, I understand how much time, effort and passion 4-H members put into their projects and I know this announcement is a disappointment to them. Exhibiting at the county and state fairs are some of my most memorable experiences in 4-H and FFA because it presented me with the opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone to share with judges and fairgoers what I learned about raising livestock and recordkeeping. That being said, we’re pleased that Minnesota 4-H and the Minnesota State Fair are exploring alternative learning experiences for 4-H members and fairgoers to offer at both the county fair and State Fair levels, and our organizations look forward to helping with these initiatives in whatever ways we can.

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Joint MTGA/CEAM Statement on Governor Dayton’s Emergency Executive Order

Minnesota Turkey Growers Association Logo CEAM Logo

Minnesota Turkey Growers Association | Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota

Joint Statement on Governor Dayton’s Emergency Executive Order (April 23, 2015)

Attribute to: Steve Olson, Executive Director (MTGA and CEAM)

Today, Governor Mark Dayton issued Emergency Executive Order 15-09, declaring a Peacetime State of Emergency in Minnesota in response to the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).

Under the new state of emergency:

  • The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) will activate the Minnesota Emergency Operations Plan, coordinating response efforts across all agencies of state government and helping local governments respond and recover from the emergency
  • And the Adjutant General of Minnesota will order to state active duty such personnel and equipment of the military forces of the State as required, and for such a period of time as necessary to provide assistance and emergency relief services.

“The recent findings of avian influenza in turkey and egg-laying hen flocks in Minnesota and several other states are of great concern. Perhaps no one is more concerned than our state’s egg, chicken and turkey farmers, who are working tirelessly to protect their flocks and prevent this disease from spreading to their farms,” said Steve Olson, Executive Director of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) and the Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota (CEAM).

“We are grateful for partnership we have with Governor Dayton and his staff; the U.S. Department of Agriculture; University of Minnesota; and several Minnesota state agencies: Board of Animal Health, Department of Agriculture, Department of Health and the Department of Natural Resources. Together with the poultry farmers in our state, we will stop the spread of this virus and take the steps necessary to ensure the poultry industry remains vital and we provide consumers with safe, nutritious, high-quality food,” said Olson.

As a reminder: This is NOT a food safety issue. All flocks are tested for this virus, well before going to market. Any flocks tested positive for the virus are NOT allowed to enter the food supply. And as always, poultry and eggs should be handled properly and cooked to an internal temperature of 165° F to kill bacteria and viruses.

Also, the risk of human infection is very low. To date, the HPAI strains that have been found in the United States have not been detected in humans. Risk of infection is limited to people in direct contact with affected birds.

For more information, visit www.MNAIResponse.info.

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Facts About Avian Influenza in Minnesota Turkey Flocks

For immediate release

Date: April 8, 2015

Contact:  Lara Durben

(Buffalo, Minn.) … Since early March, there have been a number of flocks of turkeys diagnosed with a highly-pathogenic strain of avian influenza (HPAI).  All incidences currently are isolated introductions of the HPAI strain known as H5N2; the flocks are on different farms in several different counties of the state.

“First and foremost, the Minnesota Department of Health assures us that this strain does not pose a health risk to the general public and no human infections have been identified in the U.S.,” said Steve Olson, executive director of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA). “Consumers should also know that HPAI is not a food safety issue.”

The turkey products you purchase are completely safe to eat: 

  • This is NOT a food safety issue. All flocks are tested for this virus, well before going to market. Any flocks tested positive for the virus are NOT allowed to enter the food supply.
  • All poultry identified with HPAI are prohibited by law from entering the marketplace.
  • As a reminder, all poultry and eggs should be handled properly and cooked to an internal temperature of 165° F to kill bacteria and viruses.

Olson  said turkey farmers continue to be on high alert. “Our experience so far has been this strain of HPAI is deadly to poultry, and in response, Minnesota’s turkey farmers are making significant increases to biosecurity measures on their farms to protect their flocks. Comprehensive disease prevention protocols on commercial turkey farms include, but are not limited to, restricting farm access, preventing flocks from exposure to wild and migratory birds, increasing veterinary monitoring of flocks, and using protective gear at all times.”

Olson indicated that MTGA is working closely with authorities as avian influenza surveillance proceeds and to keep our members updated on the findings of that testing.

“Providing excellent care of their flocks and ensuring the safety of the turkey products they produce are of critical importance to Minnesota’s turkey farmers, and the turkey farming community is taking USDA’s identification of avian influenza in the U.S. very seriously,” said Olson.

Backyard and pastured flocks could be at a higher risk as these birds may be in closer contact with carriers of HPAI, such as waterfowl. Owners of such flocks are urged to take the precautionary measures:

  • Restrict access from wildlife and wild birds to your birds by use of enclosed shelter and fencing of the outdoor areas. (Consider use of smaller mesh hardware cloth which allows exclusion of wild birds while still allowing outdoor exposure.)
  • Keep feeders and waterers clean and out of reach of wild birds. Clean up feed spills.
  • Use dedicated or clean clothing and foot wear when working with poultry
  • Don’t share equipment or reuse materials like egg cartons from neighbors and bird owners, you could be borrowing disease.

MTGA has several fact sheets and web links with much more information about HPAI and biosecurity measures for farmers at minnesotaturkey.com/farmers/hot-topics/avian-influenza/.

You may also visit the Minnesota Board of Animal Health’s website on avian influenza:  www.mnairesponse.info.

For more information on avian influenza basics for backyard flocks, please visit the University of Minnesota Extension Poultry Website at where there are two factsheets available:

Another good source of information for backyard flocks is this USDA website: http://healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov/.

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 450 turkey farmers raising approximately 46 million turkeys in 2014. 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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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.