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18 Fun Facts for the 2018 State Fair – Minnesota Turkey and Turkey To Go

For immediate release

Contact:

Lara Durben, Minnesota Turkey Growers Association

Ph: 763/682-2171 (office), 612/554-0920 (mobile)

ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

  1. Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) has been serving up turkey at the Minnesota State Fair for 60 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. (Throwback) Beginning in 1958, MTGA began serving turkey from a concession stand located on the east side of the poultry barn. The first food stand, called “Turkeyteria” (think cafeteria) was a simple, canvas-covered frame.

 

  1. (Throwback) Food offerings to fairgoers have changed over the years but a few highlights include: roast turkey sandwiches with gravy (1950s and 1960s), extremely popular turkey tenderloin-on-a-stick (1970s and 1980s), turkey nuggets (1990s) and in 1999, the Great Big Turkey Sandwich was introduced and remains our focus and fan favorite today!

 

  1. Our menu:
  • Giant Juicy Turkey Sandwich ($7.75)
  • Half Pound Giant Juicy Turkey Sandwich ($9.50)
  • Turkey Ribs ($9.50) – Flavors include original, sweet glazed, or buffalo
  • Slow-Roasted Turkey Drumstick (Original, Sweet Glazed & Buffalo – $9.50)
  • Turkey by the Pound – Frozen Turkey To Go product that you can take home with you! ($16.75 per pound)
  • Tasty Turkey Sunrise Sandwich – Our signature Turkey To Go product, an egg, and slice of American cheese on a bun ($7.75 or add optional turkey bacon for an additional $1.00)
  • Toppings: bleu cheese & buffalo sauce; brie & cranberry sauce; and crispy chopped bacon & sweet glaze ($2.50)

 

  1. A portion of every sale goes to Hunger Solutions Minnesota. Since 2008, TTG has donated nearly $70,000.

 

  1. Turkey To Go is located next to the All-You-Can-Drink Milk Stand (1256 Clough Street).

 

  1. Turkey To Go was named the People’s Choice Award for “Best Food or Beverage” at the 2012 Minnesota State Fair!

 

  1. Turkey to Go by the numbers:
  • We expect to cook approximately 40,000 pounds of turkey at Turkey To Go this year.
  • From 2011-2017, Turkey To Go sold a total of 320,443 Giant Juicy Turkey sandwiches and 78,016 Slow-Roasted Turkey Drumsticks!

 

  1. Our Giant Juicy Turkey Sandwich (eaten without the bun) and Jumbo Turkey Drumstick are gluten-free.

 

  1. Don’t forget about our breakfast sandwich, which debuted 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 Turkey bacon can also be added for an additional $1.00.

 

  1. Turkey To Go also has locations at Target Field. Up-to-date location information can be found at twitter.com/turkeytogo or visit www.turkeytogo.com for details.
    • Target Field – Turkey To Go is behind home plate between sections 112 and 113 as well as outside Section 318.

 

  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) and they aren’t needed. Genetics and excellent nutrition make all the difference!

 

  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 44 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 4th, 5th, and 6th generation farmers.

 

  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 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. 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. Find us on the Web at com or MinnesotaTurkey.com and on social media:

 

facebook.com/TurkeyToGo and facebook.com/MinnesotaTurkey

Twitter – @TurkeyToGo and @MinnesotaTurkey

Pinterest.com/MinnesotaTurkey

Instagram – @MinnesotaTurkey and @TurkeyToGo

 

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Turkey To Go Celebrates 60 Years at the 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, Minn.) … Turkey To Go, the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association’s (MTGA) food stand at the Minnesota State Fair, is celebrating 60 years of selling delicious turkey products to fairgoers.

Minnesota turkey farmers have always been forward thinkers and passionate about raising birds. Sixty years ago, turkey was considered more of a seasonal product mainly around the holidays, but our farmers saw its big potential. That’s why they made a commitment to serve turkey in a variety of ways and highlight it as a convenience food to consumers at the Minnesota State Fair, starting back in 1958.

Today, this driving passion for promoting and serving a quality product to fairgoers remains the same.

“Stopping by Turkey To Go is a favorite food destination — truly a staple — of fairgoers enjoying Minnesota State Fair since 1958,” said Steve Olson, MTGA Executive Director. “When people come to the fair, they expect a great turkey product and we have aimed to deliver that quality guarantee for 60 years.”

Throughout the past 60 years, the food stand’s name was changed four times; from “Turkeyteria” (think cafeteria), “The Turkey House”, and “Pilgrim Tom’s Takeout Turkey” to what we fondly know today as “Turkey To Go.” The food stand has also featured many different products including: turkey steak sandwiches, turkey noodle casserole, and grilled turkey tenderloin sandwiches, to name a few.

“It is exciting to see what changes 60 years have brought to Minnesota’s turkey farmers and Turkey To Go,” Olson said. “We are certainly optimistic for new opportunities to raise, promote and serve turkey in the next six decades!”

Flash-forward to this year and Turkey To Go is pleased to offer a tremendous line-up of mouth-watering turkey options starting with the newest product that debuted in 2017 — turkey ribs!

These ribs are meaty, tender, juicy, and so flavorful — everything you would expect from the turkey experts at Turkey To Go. The all white meat ribs sell for $9.50 per serving and come in three flavor choices: original, sweet glazed, and buffalo.

The turkey ribs will complement a menu wholly focused on turkey — from the signature Giant Juicy Turkey Sandwich and Slow-Roasted Turkey Drumsticks, to the Tasty Turkey Sunrise Sandwich. Rounding out the menu is Turkey To Go by the pound that will sell for $16.75 per pound.

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 is owned by the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association, which has had a food stand at the Minnesota State Fair since 1958.

Turkey To Go’s Giant Juicy Turkey Sandwich comes in its original version or a gigantic half-pound option. Additionally, the concession stand 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. Finally, the food stand serves up its Tasty Turkey Sunrise Sandwich featuring its signature Turkey To Go product, egg, and cheese on a bun – with the option to add turkey bacon as well.

In addition to its location at the Minnesota State Fair, Turkey To Go has two locations in Target Field during Minnesota Twins’ home games (between sections 112-113 and also in 318).

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

About Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (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 4rd, 5th and even 6th generation farmers. For more information, visit www.minnesotaturkey.com or www.facebook.com/MinnesotaTurkey.  You can also find Minnesota Turkey on Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey), Pinterest (www.pinterest.com/MinnesotaTurkey), and Instagram (@MinnesotaTurkey).

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Editor’s note: High resolution photos of the turkey ribs, Giant Juicy Turkey Sandwich, and our breakfast sandwich are available by request; we also have some vintage photos from our food stands in the 1950s-1980s. Please email ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com.)

 

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MTGA Announces Several Scholarship Recipients

For immediate release

Contact:  Lara Durben

Phone:    (763) 682-2171E-mail:     ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

(Buffalo, MN )  … The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) and the Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council (MTRPC) recently announced recipients in two scholarship programs.

Evonik Implements Scholarship for HPAI-Impacted Families

Evonik Corporation, a worldwide leader in amino acid production and sales, and long-time Minnesota Turkey Growers Association member, implemented a scholarship program called the Evonik Cares Scholarship designed for children of turkey farmers affected by the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) outbreak that hit Minnesota’s turkey industry in the spring of 2015.

The initial idea came from Evonik’s Vice President, Pete Hohl, after hearing of all the losses turkey farmers were incurring in Minnesota.  Hohl gave Gregg Veldman, Senior Account Manager and Brian Foshee, North America Sales Manager, the charter to find a way to help families affected by the HPAI outbreak. Veldman and Foshee came up with the idea of a college scholarship, fully knowing the strain that a college education can put on families.

“Minnesota’s turkey farmers and their families experienced the largest foreign animal disease outbreak in U.S. history, creating not only economic hardship for the farms directly impacted by HPAI but also a large emotional toll for all of the families involved,” said Gregg Veldman. “This scholarship program is a way for our company to give back to the turkey industry that is so vital to Minnesota.”

Veldman worked with the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association to develop and distribute the scholarship.

The scholarship was awarded to the following recipients in the amount of $2,5000 each:

Amy Stauffenecker: Amy is the daughter of Troy and Mary Stauffenecker from Greenbush, MN.  Amy is currently finishing up her senior year at Greenbush- Middle River high school. Next year, she will be attending NDSU to study interior design. Amy states, “I will forever be grateful for the life lessons that the farm has pushed me to learn and work through to become a better version of myself”.

Andrea Hanson: Andrea is the daughter of Bob and Tammy Hanson from Aitkin, MN. Andrea is currently a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls studying Agriculture Education. Andrea states, “Without the farm, I would not understand the importance of hard work and chores, and how far they can get you in life if you believe in yourself”.

Ranelius Scholarship Honors Students

The long-time annual MTGA and MTRPC Ranelius Scholarship focuses on encouraging applicants who are enrolled in a post-secondary educational institution to prepare for a career within the poultry industry.  This year’s scholarship recipients include:

Mariah Huberty, from Harris, MN, is a second-year senior at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Growing up, Mariah has been very active in the poultry industry winning many top honors in 4-H and FFA at the state and national level.  She is also the owner and manager of Lofty Dream Poultry, a self-sustainable, NPIP certified hatchery. Mariah raises and sells quality poultry while learning how to care for different birds in her flock at all live stages, financial, business, and records management, web design, and marketing.   MTGA salutes Mariah for all her hard work!

Jenna Stauffenecker, from Spicer, MN and is finishing up her senior year at Willmar High School. Next fall, she plans to attend North Dakota State University to study respiratory care where she is looking forward to caring for patients of all ages. Growing up, Jenna has helped in many different aspect of the turkey industry by doing chores with her grandparents in the summer but also learning about the sales side through Protein Alliance. MTGA wishes Jenna the best of luck at NDSU!

Joseph Lenneman, from St. Michael, MN, is ending his senior year at St. Michael-Albertville High School. This fall, he is planning to attend University of Minnesota-Duluth majoring in Chemical Engineering. Joseph states that through his studies, he hopes help develop new ways to prevent food from spoiling and protect the consumer from possible food-borne illnesses. MTGA wishes Joseph the best of luck at University of Minnesota-Duluth!

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About MTGA

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 raise approximately 46 million turkeys annually. Minnesota has the most independent turkey farmers of any state in the U.S.

 

About MTRPC

MTRPC is the oldest check-off based commodity organization in Minnesota, celebrating 50 years in 2015. 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.

 

For further details on both organizations, visit , www.minnesotaturkey.com, find us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MinnesotaTurkey) and follow us on Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey)

 

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Douglas County 4-H Members Honored with the Turkey Promoter of the Year Award

For immediate release

Contact:  Lara Durben

Phone:    (763) 682-2171

E-mail:     ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

 

 

From left: Kerryn Lund, Kayla Egenes, Kodi Bundermann, Christina Kuismi, and Katie Kent.

(Buffalo, MN )  … The Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council (MTRPC) has honored five 4-H members from Douglas County with its 2017 “Turkey Promoter of the Year” award.

Kodi Bundermann (Alexandria, Minn.), Kayla Egenes (Alexandria, Minn.), Katie Kent (Alexandria, Minn.), Christina Kuismi (Brandon, Minn.), and Kerryn Lund (Brandon, Minn.) received their award at the MTRPC Annual Meeting on March 14 in Minneapolis. The five 4-H members were part of a Minnesota 4-H Science of Agriculture team that won 2nd place at the state competition for their research into different bedding types for turkey barns.

The 4-H members also worked closely with 2017 National Turkey Federation (NTF) Chairman Carl Wittenburg and his wife, Sharlene, to raise a special National Thanksgiving Turkey flock. From July until November, the 4-H members helped train the flock, gave media interviews, were the subject of several videos for MTRPC, and were passionate about sharing their 4-H and agriculture stories as well as those of Minnesota’s turkey farmers.

In early November, two of the turkeys were chosen to travel to the White House for the National Thanksgiving pardoning ceremony. The 4-H members and the Wittenburg family also attended, participated in a press conference in Washington DC, and were able to meet with President Trump in the Oval Office and participate in the pardoning ceremony in the Rose Garden.

“It was gratifying to watch these 4-H members learn about turkey production and also hone their own leadership skills through a variety of public speaking and media interview opportunities,” said MTGA and MTRPC Executive Director Steve Olson. “The girls are articulate and smart – and they were able to showcase Minnesota’s 4-H program on a national scope. It was a great partnership and we are appreciative of all the time and effort they put forth to make the 2017 National Thanksgiving Turkey project a huge success.”

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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About MTRPC

MTRPC is the oldest check-off based commodity organization in Minnesota, celebrating 50 years in 2015. 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.

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Turkey Farmer Honored for Years of Volunteer Dedication

For immediate release

Contact:  Lara Durben

Phone: (763) 682-2171

E-mail: ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

(Buffalo, MN )  … The Presidents of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) and Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council (MTRPC) recently honored John Burkel, a turkey farmer from Badger, Minn., for his extraordinary efforts on behalf of Minnesota’s turkey farmers for nearly two decades.

Burkel served nine years on the Boards of MTGA and MTRPC, including a one-year stint as president of both organizations. Burkel also recently completed his 11th and final year on the National Turkey Federation (NTF) Executive Committee.

“John’s leadership guided us through many important projects for our organizations,” said MTGA/MTRPC Executive Director Steve Olson. “On the NTF Committee, he has been a tireless advocate for turkey farmers and served as Chairman of that organzation in 2013.”

The MTGA and MTRPC President’s Awards are given annually to individual(s) chosen specifically for their dedication and commitment to the goals of the organization.

The official award presentation took place at the MTGA’s annual meeting in Minneapolis, Minn. on March 14.

For more information on the MTGA or its President’s Award program, please contact the MTGA at (763) 682-2171 or visit www.Minnesotaturkey.com.

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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 450 turkey farmers raising approximately 46 million turkeys annually . Minnesota has the most independent turkey farmers of any state in the U.S.

About MTRPC

MTRPC is the oldest check-off based commodity organization in Minnesota, celebrating 50 years in 2015. 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.

For further details on both organizations, visit , www.minnesotaturkey.com, find us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MinnesotaTurkey) and follow us on Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey)

 

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Outgoing MTGA & MTRPC Board Directors Honored

For immediate release

Contact:  Lara Durben

Phone:    (763) 682-2171

E-mail:     ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

Jeff Stauffenecker

MTRPC President Kim Halvorson with Leon Klaphake

(Buffalo, MN)… Turkey farmers Dana Nelson of Kensington, Minn., and Leon Klaphake of Melrose, Minn., along with Jeff Stauffenecker of Protein Alliance, Brooten, 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 organizations’ Boards of Directors at its Annual Meeting on March 14 in Minneapolis, Minn.

Nelson and Klaphake both served six years total for the two organizations. Stauffenecker served six years as an Allied Member Representative on the MTGA Board of Directors.

“On behalf of MTGA, I thank these three directors for their dedication and leadership to our organization,” said MTRPC President Kim Halvorson. “They have made significant contributions to our organization and Minnesota’s turkey industry. Their commitment to MTGA, MTRPC, and to our industry has been invaluable. They will be missed on the Board.”

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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 450 turkey farmers raising approximately 46 million turkeys annually. Minnesota has the most independent turkey farmers of any state in the U.S.

About MTRPC

MTRPC is the oldest check-off based commodity organization in Minnesota, celebrating 50 years in 2015. 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.

For further details on both organizations, visit , www.minnesotaturkey.com, find us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MinnesotaTurkey) and follow us on Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey)

 

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MTGA and MTRPC Board Election Results Announced

For immediate release

Contact:  Lara Durben

Phone:    (763) 682-2171

E-mail:     ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

 

Directors Hail from Melrose, New London, Hanska, Little Falls, Morristown and Marshall

(Buffalo, MN)… The Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council (MTRPC) and the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association have announced election results for each of its Boards of Directors.

The newly elected directors are:

MINNESOTA TURKEY GROWERS ASSOCIATION

Region 1

Jes Westbrock, Rothfork Associates, Melrose

Region 2

Wayne Knudsen, New London

MINNESOTA TURKEY RESEARCH & PROMOTION COUNCIL

At-Large

Tim Miller, TJ Turkey LLP, Hanska (At-Large)

Region 1

Lynette Gessell, 13 Acres Inc., Little Falls

Region 2

Kim Halvorson, Halvorson Farms, Morristown

All elected Board directors will serve three-year terms and assumed their seats on March 1. Each of these boards meet approximately six times per year to guide MTRPC and MTGA activities, respectively.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is the agency responsible for conducting and certifying the MTRPC election, which was conducted by mail-in ballot in January. MTGA members voted for its Board election at the MTGA annual meeting on March 15 in Saint Paul, Minn.

Allied Director

Also appointed to the MTGA Board on March 14 as an allied member was Diane Wagner of Smart Animals/Ralco in Balaton, MInn.

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

Lynette Gessell

Lynette Gessell and her husband John Gessell have been involved in the turkey industry for 38 years. They raise Light Hens in Morrison County. Lynette is serving her second term on the Minnesota Turkey Research & Promotion Council.

Lynette is active in supportive roles for local organizations and her church. She assists the Flensburg Fire Department with the annual grant request for equipment from the Department of Homeland Security. Each year, she volunteers to help the Swanville Lions Club during the Swanville Summer Carnival and as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army.

Lynette and John have three children and two grandchildren.

Kim Halvorson

Kim Halvorson of Morristown, MN owns and operates Halvorson Farms. She has been a turkey farmer for 27 years and raises approximately 100,000 heavy toms/year (about 3.2 million pounds/year) annually in Rice County.

Kim is currently a member of the Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce; is a minority liaison with Farm Service Agency; is the current vice-chair of the Rice County District One Hospital Board of Directors. She also served on the Rice County Board of Adjustment from 2006-2011; the Rice County Planning and Zoning Commission from 2002-2011 (serving as past chairwoman); and is a founding member and past chairwoman the Rice County Childcare Association from 1995-2002.

Kim has conducted many media interviews about the turkey industry and was also featured on a DVD compiled by the Minnesota Farm and Food Coalition about livestock production in Minnesota. She has three daughters – Breann, Benita and Greta – and a son, Bernt.

Wayne Knudsen

Wayne Knudsen of K & B Turkeys, LLC, is a first-generation turkey grower and produces 120,000 toms/year in Redwood county. He is serving his second term on the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association.

Wayne has served as a board member for the Echo School District/YME District, the MN River Valley Education District & the Redwood County Fair. In addition, for 23 years he has been an active member in his church, the Echo Alliance Church, and served as an elder, board member & treasurer.

Wayne and his wife Kay, have been married 39 years and have four children and many grandchildren.

Tim Miller

Tim Miller, owner of T & J Turkeys LLP, has been a part of the turkey industry for 30 years. Tim raises approximately 145,000 heavy toms and light hens on his farm in Hanska. Tim is serving his first term on the Minnesota Turkey Research & Promotion Council

Tim is very active in his faith, having held many positions in both Zion Lutheran Church and Prairie Land Lutheran Parish. He is married to his wife Jill and together they have three children- Kyle, Aaron, and Kelsey.

Diane Wagner

Diane Wagner grew up on a farm outside of Ruthton, Minn. where her family raised both swine and dairy for commercial sale and poultry for personal consumption. The farm later streamlined to be focused on dairy production and grain (corn, soy, oats) and alfafa.

After she graduated from Ruthton High School, she received a technical degree from Alexandria Technical College for computer programming and a Bachelor’s degree from Southwest State for Business Administration.

Diane was employed by Schwan Food Company in Marshall, MN from June 1984 to April 2014, including 16 years in information services (IT), seven years in the Home Service department, and over six years in the Foodservice department.  Due to an office relocation to Bloomington, Diane chose to remain in the Marshall area and has been employed by Ralco Nutrition since 2014 (Vice President of Corporate Technologies and Ralco Animal Health General Manager).

This is Diane’s first term on the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association Board of Directors.

Jes Westbrock

Jessica Westbrock, manager/Vice President of Melrose Feed Mill/Rothfork Associates, has been raised in the turkey industry all her life but has been working full time for 5 years. Jes and her family raises approximately 1 million toms and some hens over 7 farms in Stearns County. This is her first term on the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association Board.

Jes is very active in the community volunteering with the Melrose FFA Chapter and serving as a coach for the Holdingford Girl’s Swim Team. She is also active in speaking out to different groups about the turkey industry through the Speak for Yourself Program and other various organizations. Jes is married to Andy and have 3 children, Paige, Peyton, and Parker.

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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 450 turkey farmers raising approximately 46 million turkeys annually. Minnesota has the most independent turkey farmers of any state in the U.S.

About MTRPC

MTRPC is the oldest check-off based commodity organization in Minnesota, celebrating 50 years in 2015. 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.

For further details on both organizations, visit , www.minnesotaturkey.com, find us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MinnesotaTurkey) and follow us on Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey)

 

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MTGA and MTRPC Announce 2018-19 Officers

For immediate release

Contact:  Lara Durben

Phone:    (763) 682-2171

E-mail:     ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

 

Officers Hail from Morristown, Rothsay, New London, and Wood Lake

(Buffalo, MN)… The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) and Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council (MTRPC) announce the following slates of officers for 2018-2019:

MINNESOTA TURKEY RESEARCH & PROMOTION COUNCIL

President – Kim Halvorson, Halvorson Turkeys, Morristown

Vice President – Chris Huisinga, Huisinga Turkey Farms LLC, Renville

Secretary-Treasurer – Max Velo, Evelo Inc., Rothsay

 MINNESOTA TURKEY GROWERS ASSOCIATION

President – Chris Huisinga, Huisinga Turkey Farms LLC, Renville

Vice President – Paul Kvistad, Kvistad Poultry, Wood Lake

Secretary-Treasurer – Wayne Knudsen, K&B Turkeys LLC, New London

Officers were officially announced at the annual meetings of the MTGA and MTRPC, held March 14 in Minneapolis, Minn.

MTRPC Officer Bios:

MTRPC President, Kim Halvorson of Morristown, MN, owns and operates Halvorson Farms. She has been a turkey farmer for 27 years and raises approximately 100,000 heavy toms/year (about 3.2 million pounds/year) annually in Rice County.

Kim is currently a member of the Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce; is a minority liaison with Farm Service Agency; is the current vice-chair of the Rice County District One Hospital Board of Directors. She also served on the Rice County Board of Adjustment from 2006-2011; the Rice County Planning and Zoning Commission from 2002-2011 (serving as past chairwoman); and is a founding member and past chairwoman the Rice County Childcare Association from 1995-2002.

Kim has conducted many media interviews about the turkey industry and was also featured on a DVD compiled by the Minnesota Farm and Food Coalition about livestock production in Minnesota. She has three daughters – Breann, Benita and Greta – and a son, Bernt.

MTRPC President Chris Huisinga owns and operates Huisinga Turkey Farms, LLC in Renville, MN. Prior to starting this venture in the past year, he was the General Sales Manager for Ag Forte. Ag Forte (the flagship brand for Willmar Poultry/Life-Science Innovations) is the largest supplier of day old turkey poults in the world annually selling 100 million turkeys globally.

 Prior to his current role, Chris was the General Manager for Ag Forte’s North Division consisting of over 300 employees across 2 hatcheries, 58 parent stock breeding farms, 2 grandparent breeding farms, a vaccine production division, and veterinary services. During his career he has held roles in operations, marketing, finance and business development for Life-Science Innovations and its affiliates and Wells Fargo Corporation in both Minnesota and Florida.

 Chris has a BA in Business from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul (Minnesota) and a MBA from Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers (Florida). Chris and his wife Joi have two children, Ethan and Ella.

MTRPC Secretary-Treasurer Max Velo has been actively involved in the turkey industry for 13 years. With a farm in Ottertail County, he raises 400,000 hens per year.

Max and his wife Piper have four children Daryl, Kelsey, Alanna and Nita.

MTGA Officer Bios:

President Chris Huisinga owns and operates Huisinga Turkey Farms, LLC in Renville, MN. Prior to starting this venture in the past year, he was the General Sales Manager for Ag Forte. Ag Forte (the flagship brand for Willmar Poultry/Life-Science Innovations) is the largest supplier of day old turkey poults in the world annually selling 100 million turkeys globally.

Prior to his current role, Chris was the General Manager for Ag Forte’s North Division consisting of over 300 employees across 2 hatcheries, 58 parent stock breeding farms, 2 grandparent breeding farms, a vaccine production division, and veterinary services. During his career he has held roles in operations, marketing, finance and business development for Life-Science Innovations and its affiliates and Wells Fargo Corporation in both Minnesota and Florida.

Chris has a BA in Business from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul (Minnesota) and a MBA from Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers (Florida). Chris, his wife Joi, have two children Ethan and Ella.

MTGA Vice President 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.

Currently, Paul is serving as the chairperson on the Education/Workforce Committee for MTGA and has been on the board of the Yellow Medicine County Corn Growers for 16 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.

MTGA Secretary-Treasurer Wayne Knudsen of K & B Turkeys, LLC, is a first-generation turkey grower and produces 120,000 toms/year in Redwood county.

Wayne has served as a board member for the Echo School District/YME District, the MN River Valley Education District & the Redwood County Fair. In addition, for 23 years he has been an active member in his church, the Echo Alliance Church, and served as an elder, board member & treasurer.

Wayne and his wife Kay, have been married 39 years and have four children and many grandchildren.

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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 450 turkey farmers raising approximately 46 million turkeys annually. Minnesota has the most independent turkey farmers of any state in the U.S.

About MTRPC

MTRPC is the oldest check-off based commodity organization in Minnesota, celebrating 50 years in 2015. 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.

For further details on both organizations, visit , www.minnesotaturkey.com, find us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MinnesotaTurkey) and follow us on Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey)

 

 

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2018 Ranelius Award Recipient: Dr. Carol Cardona

March 22, 2018 – For immediate release

Contact:  Lara Durben

Phone: (763) 682-2171

E-mail: ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

(Buffalo, MN )  … The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) is proud to announce that Dr. Carol Cardona, Pomeroy Chair in Avian Health, University of Minnesota, is the 2018 recipient of its prestigious Ranelius Award. The announcement was made at the MTGA Annual Meeting on March 14 in Minneapolis, Minn.

“The Ranelius Award is the highest honor given by the MTGA,” said MTGA President Chris Huisinga, a turkey farmer from Renville, MN. “It signifies leadership and dedication to the industry based on contributions made to enhance Minnesota’s turkey industry, and Dr. Cardona is well deserved of this special honor.”

As the Pomeroy Chair in Avian Health for the College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Cardona is a world-renowned expert in avian influenza and also serves as co-director/co-principal investigator of the Minnesota Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance at the University.

“Carol’s expertise and guidance during and after the 2015 highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak in Minnesota was crucial in helping the poultry industry move forward on both the farm level and from a business continuity standpoint,” said MTGA Executive Director Steve Olson. “She also developed an important sampling tool used during and after the AI outbreak that continues to help the industry assess the health status of a flock before moving birds to market.”

Dr. Cardona’s ability to form partnerships between industry, academia, and government agencies extends far beyond avian influenza as well.

Through her role as Pomeroy Chair in Avian Health, Dr. Cardona encourages producer-focused research on timely topics such as gut health, respiratory health, and animal welfare. She was instrumental in creating and opening the Mid-Central Research and Outreach Center (MCROC) in Willmar, Minn., which quickly became a regional hub for research, education, and engagement for the poultry industry.

“It is a great honor to present the Ranelius Award to Dr. Cardona,” said Huisinga. “She embodies the principles of Dr. Ben Pomeroy, for whom her endowed chair is named, and we thank her for her dedication and passion to 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.

To view a recap video of Dr. Cardona’s impact on Minnesota’s turkey industry, please view:

For more information on the MTGA or its Ranelius Award program, please contact Lara Durben at 763/682-2171 or ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com.

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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 450 turkey farmers raising approximately 46 million turkeys annually. 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)

Photo cutline: MTGA President Chris Huisinga presents the Ranelius Award to Dr. Carol Cardona, University of Minnesota.

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Minnesota’s Poultry Farmers Praise Significant Breakthrough Restoring CERCLA Exemptions

February 13, 2018

For immediate release

Contact: Lara Durben, Communications Director, ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com or 763-682-2171

 

Feb. 13, 2018 – BUFFALO MN – The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) and the Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota (CEAM) praised a breakthrough bi-partisan bill introduced today by 13 senators – including Minnesota Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) – to correct a pending federal court requirement that nearly a quarter of a million farmers must calculate and report the natural emission of ammonia from poultry and livestock manure.

This legislation is of major significance as it seeks to restore the CERCLA emergency notification reporting to its intended purpose.

The FARM Act, “The Fair Agricultural Reporting Method Act,” restores the on-farm exemption for reporting low-level livestock emissions. MTGA and CEAM noted that the 2017 Federal Appeals Court ruling had disrupted a nearly 10-year understanding that these are not the type of releases that Congress intended to be tracked under CERCLA (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation & Liability Act).

With the bi-partisan level of cooperation, the bill demonstrates strong support from both Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to clarify Congress’ intent.

“On behalf of turkey and chicken farmers in Minnesota, we greatly appreciate Senator Klobuchar and Smith for their leadership on the FARM Act,” said Steve Olson, Executive Director of MTGA and CEAM. “This bill will ease the burden of Minnesota turkey and chicken farmers from having to report naturally-occurring low level air emissions with minimal environmental impact.”

In addition to co-sponsors Sens. Klobuchar and Smith, the bill was also introduced by Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY), Tom Carper (D-DE), Chris Coons (D-DE), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Tina Smith (D-MN), and Mark Warner (D-VA).

Senators have been quick to respond in the face of an upcoming May 1 federal court deadline that would trigger the massive reporting mandate on farmers, a mandate that might require compliance in as little as 24 hours after the final court order is issued.

MTGA and CEAM are hopeful a companion version of the FARM Act will be introduced soon for timely consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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