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MTGA Announces 2017 Allied Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

For Immediate Release (6/30/17)

Contact: Lara Durben

Communications & Assistant Executive Director

Minnesota Turkey Growers Association

(763) 682-2171  |  ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com]

 

 (BUFFALO, MN) – The late Dr. Marshall Kim Brinton was honored at the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) annual Summer Conference, which was held in Breezy Point, Minnesota, June 21-23 2017. The 2017 MTGA Allied Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded to Brinton in honor of his contributions and service to the poultry industry throughout his lifetime.

MTGA Allied Committee member Doug Dorn of AgCountry Farm Credit Services presented the award to Brinton’s father, Gene, Thursday, June 22, 2017 at the annual reception.

Brinton was born February 26, 1954 in Story City, Iowa to Gene and Nola Brinton. He attended school in Ellsworth and South Hamilton, Iowa, and graduated from Willmar High School in 1972 after the family moved to Eagle Lake in 1968. He later attended the University of Minnesota and earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree in 1983.

Brinton worked at a veterinary clinic in Roswell, New Mexico for a short time after receiving his degree. He later returned to St. Paul and the University of Minnesota in 1985 to pursue his PhD in Avian Microbiology. Brinton joined his family at Brinton Veterinary Solutions as staff veterinarian in 1987.

His first major success in the poultry industry was developing a vaccine for Pasteurella anatipestifer, an economically devastating turkey disease at that time.  In the ensuing years, he developed and patented several vaccines and toxoids to improve flock and herd health and reduce the need for antibiotics in both poultry and swine. He founded the Poultry Veterinary Center in 1994 and retired in 2010 due to health issues.

Dr. Marshall Kim Brinton, 62, died Friday, December 2, 2016 at his home in Miami Beach, Florida.

“Kim is missed by Minnesota’s turkey industry and his contributions have made a lasting effect on the success of so many,” said Dorn. “It is my honor and privilege to present this award to the Brinton family.”

The MTGA Allied Lifetime Achievement Award is based on several criteria:

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

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About MTGA

The MTGA, founded in 1939 and located in Buffalo, Minn., 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 45 million turkeys annually. Minnesota has the most independent turkey farmers of any state in the U.S. For more information on MTGA, visit www.minnesotaturkey.com.

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Minnesota Turkey Joins Ag Organizations, Rural Counties to Call for Delay of State Water Buffer Law

Contact: Brent Renneke
Public Relations Manager, Minnesota Corn Growers Association brenneke@mncorn.org
701-741-7292

AG ORGANIZATIONS AND RURAL COUNTIES CALL FOR MODIFICATIONS AND DELAY OF STATE WATER BUFFER LAW

SHAKOPEE, MN (May 11, 2017) ….. Eighteen Minnesota farm and agricultural organizations and several local government officials representing rural counties signed onto a joint letter to Governor Dayton and legislative leaders urgently requesting they make needed modifications to the water buffer law and delay its implementation date to give local governments and farmers enough time to comply.

The letter was led by the Minnesota Corn Growers Association and signees include the Minnesota Farmers Union; Minnesota Farm Bureau; various grain, livestock and poultry commodity organizations; cooperatives; and various county commissioners, who will be involved in implementing the law.

“We are not asking for a repeal of the water buffer law, but we must face the fact it is not ready for implementation this year,” said Harold Wolle, president of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association and lead author of the letter. “Various officials have acknowledged that the implementation of the buffer law, passed by the Legislature in 2015, would be complicated, and this reality has been validated by the significant delays in developing buffer guidelines and the resulting confusion that now exists throughout the state among farmers and local government officials.”

Despite the fact the buffer law was passed in 2015, implementation guidelines have been slow in coming out and this is causing concern among local government officials as well as farmers. Farmers are now in their fields with spring planting, beginning the busy cycle of their farm operations through the fall harvest. This leaves little time to try and get into compliance by November 1st, especially when it has not been clear as to what constitutes “compliance.”

As an example, it has taken almost two years to identify approved alternative practices, which were only released last month. In addition, there is confusion over the classification of private vs. public ditches, insufficient funding for county boards and watershed districts to assist with local implementation and lack of suitable compensation for removing farmland out of production. “The taking of productive farmland without some compensation and/or tax relief is especially troubling at a time when farmers are experiencing multiple years of low prices and financial stress,” said Wolle.

The letter goes on to state that if the Governor and Legislature cannot agree to needed changes of the buffer law prior to legislative adjournment, the implementation of the buffer law must be delayed to give enough time to work out the modifications and equip local government officials and farmers with the information and tools needed to effectively comply with the law.

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Keith Burger, Turkey Valley Farms, Honored with MTGA’s Most Prestigious Award

Contact:  Lara Durben

Phone:    (763) 682-2171

E-mail:     ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

Note: Photos available up on request

(Buffalo, MN )  … The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) is proud to announce its prestigious Ranelius Award in 2017 goes to Keith Burger, Turkey Valley Farms, Marshall, Minn. The announcement was made at the MTGA Annual Meeting on March 15 in Saint Paul, Minn.

“The Ranelius Award is the most prestigious honor given by the MTGA,” said incoming MTGA President Chris Huisinga, Willmar, Minn. “It signifies leadership and dedication to the industry based on contributions made to enhance Minnesota’s turkey industry, and Keith Burger is well deserved of this special honor.”

This year’s recipient has a long and productive career in the poultry industry, which started in 1969 and continued with stints at Wayne Poultry (which became Iowa Turkey Products), Cargill and most recently Turkey Valley Farms.

Burger oversaw reconstruction of the Marshall, Minn., plant and served as its general manager until he announced his retirement at the end of 2016 – although truth be told he has remained active with Turkey Valley Farms, helping with the transition of the new plant management team.

Burger also has been involved with implementing and writing of new procedures in the industry, attending many National Turkey Federation Tech & Regulation meetings in Washington DC, as well as attending seminars to expand his knowledge of the world of turkeys.

Keith and his wife, Mary, have 3 married children and 2 grandchildren

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.

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)

 

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Turkey Farmers Honored with Turkey Promoter of the Year Award

Contact:  Lara Durben

Phone:    (763) 682-2171

E-mail:     ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

Note: Photos available up on request

(Buffalo, MN )  … The Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council (MTRPC) has honored three turkey farmers with its 2017 “Turkey Promoter of the Year” award.

Scott Heymer, Princeton, Minn., Wayne Knudsen, New London, Minn., and Paul Kvistad, Wood Lake, Minn. were given the award for their farm advocacy efforts on behalf of the MTGA.

Both Heymer and Knudsen opened up their farms for two “Day in the Life of a Turkey Farmer” video projects for Minnesota Turkey. Kvistad worked with Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom to conduct MTGA’s first ever virtual farm tour last November.

“Putting yourself in front of an audience you can’t see takes a leap of faith,” said MTGA and MTRPC Executive Director Steve Olson. “We are grateful that we have farmers like Scott, Wayne, and Paul who are willing to share their farm stories to a larger audience – many of whom are far removed from the farm and food production.”

The award was presented at the MTRPC Annual Meeting on March 15 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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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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Individuals Honored for Extraordinary Efforts

Contact:  Lara Durben

Phone:    (763) 682-2171

E-mail:     ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

Note: Photos available up on request

(Buffalo, MN )  … The Presidents of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) and Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council (MTRPC) have chosen to honor three worthy individuals for their extraordinary efforts on behalf of Minnesota’s turkey farmers in 2016,

MTGA President Gene Brownfield of Redwood Falls, Minn., presented his 2016 President’s Award to Warren Formo, executive director of the Minnesota Agricultural Waters Resource Center (MAWRC).

The MAWRC provides a voice for farmers on issues ranging from manure management to water appropriations to buffers, and serves as a resource to help the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association add water quality science to their advocacy efforts. Founded in 2008, MTGA is a charter member of this organization.

MTRPC President Robert Orsten of Wilmar, Minn., presented his 2016 President’s Award to two individuals:

  • Carol Cardona, University of Minnesota, for developing an important testing tool used during and after the 2015 highly-pathogenic avian influenza outbreak that helps the industry assess the health status of a flock before moving birds to market.
  • Dale Lauer, Minnesota Board of Animal Health, for overseeing the much-needed expansion of the Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory; keeping Minnesota’s avian influenza response plan updated; and strengthening the state’s incident command structure to respond better to any future avian influenza outbreaks.

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 Saint Paul, Minn. on March 15.

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

Contact:  Lara Durben

Phone:    (763) 682-2171

E-mail:     ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

Note: Photos available up on request

(Buffalo, MN)… Turkey farmers Gene Brownfield of Redwood Falls and Robert Orsten of Willmar along with Errol Lagred of Best Veterinary Solutions, Willmar, 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 15 in Saint Paul, Minn.

Brownfield and Orsten both served nine years total for the two organizations and are past presidents of MTGA and MTRPC, respectively. Lagred 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 incoming MTRPC President Kim Halvorson. “They have made significant contributions to our organization and Minnesota’s turkey industry and 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 Announce 2017-18 Officers

Contact:  Lara Durben

Phone:    (763) 682-2171

E-mail:     ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

Note: Photos available up on request

(Buffalo, MN)… The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) and Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council (MTRPC) announce the following slates of officers for 2017-2018:

MINNESOTA TURKEY RESEARCH & PROMOTION COUNCIL

President – Kim Halvorson, Halvorson Farms, Morristown

Vice President – Chris Huisinga, AgForte, Willmar

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

MINNESOTA TURKEY GROWERS ASSOCIATION

President – Chris Huisinga, AgForte, Willmar

Vice President – Scott Christensen, Jennie-O Turkey Store, Willmar

Secretary-Treasurer – Paul Kvistad, Kvistad Poultry, Wood Lake

Officers were officially announced at the annual meetings of the MTGA and MTRPC, held March 15 in Saint Paul, Minn.

MTRPC Officer Bios:

MTRPC President Kim Halvorson of Morristown, MN owns and operates Halvorson Farms. She has been a turkey farmer for 26 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 is 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, and his two children Ethan (13) and Ella (11) live in Willmar, MN.

MTRPC Secretary-Treasurer Max Velo has been actively involved in the turkey industry for 12 years. With a farm in Ottertail County, he raises 400,000 hens per year. Max is particularly interested in domestic and international turkey markets, as well as animal health.

Max’s family consists of Piper, Daryl, Kelsey, Alanna and Nita.

MTGA Officer Bios:

President Chris Huisinga is 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, and his two children Ethan (13) and Ella (11) live in Willmar, MN.

MTGA Vice President Scott Christensen currently works as the Director of Breeders, Hatchery and Nutrition Services for Jennie-O Turkey Store and his office is based in Spicer, Minn. He has spent 35 years in the food industry, with 12 of those directly in the turkey industry.

In addition to his work at Jennie-O Turkey Store, Scott serves as a board member of West Central Industries and has been a member and volunteer with First Lutheran Church. Scott and his wife, Cheri, have three daughters – Carrisa, Tess and Jenna.

MTGA Secretary-Treasurer 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 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.

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

Contact:  Lara Durben

Phone:    (763) 682-2171

E-mail:     ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

Note: Photos available up on request

(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 2

Paul Kvistad, Kvistad Poultry, Wood Lake (Incumbent)

At-Large Positions

Ken Gleaves, Turkey Valley Farms, Marshall

MINNESOTA TURKEY RESEARCH & PROMOTION COUNCIL

Region 1

Scott Heymer, Red Bridge Farms, Princeton (incumbent)

Also appointed to an Allied position on the MTGA Board was Barry Koppen of Purina Animal Nutrition. This is Koppen’s first term on the MTGA board.

At-Large Positions

Eddie “Max” Velo, Evelo Inc., Rothsay (Grower-At-Large)

Loren Brey, Brey Farms, New Ulm (Breeder-At-Large)

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.

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

Loren Brey – MTRPC

Loren Brey is the owner of Brey Farms in Brown County, near Sleepy Eye, MN; he has been involved in the turkey industry for 30 years. Loren and his wife Brenda, raise 20,000 breeder hens a year on their farm. In addition to raising breeder hens, Loren also grows corn and soybeans. Loren has served as a school board member for several years for the Lafayette Charter School.

Loren and Brenda have two daughters – Morgan and Courtney.

Ken Gleaves – MTGA

Ken has been involved in the turkey industry for 38 years. Ken started in the turkey industry as a brooding manager for Shinn Turkeys in central Nebraska. He ended his time there managing three farms, feeding four farms and running two feed mills. Also, in that time, Ken and his wife, Diane had their own small hen farm for eight years.

During Ken’s time in Nebraska, he served on the board of directors for the Nebraska Turkey Growers Coop in Gibbon, NE, the only turkey processing plant in the state for many years. He was also involved in the Nebraska Poultry Industries.

Ken worked with the Willmar Poultry Company for seven years, first in the breeder division, then as a manager for company commercial farms. In 2014, Ken moved to Turkey Valley Farms and serves as their live production coordinator.

Ken and his wife Diane reside in Willmar. They have been married for 38 years and have five children and three grandchildren.

Scott Heymer – MTRPC

Scott Heymer, the owner of Red Bridge Farms, Inc. in Princeton, has been involved in the turkey industry for 40 years. Annually he raises 150,000 heavy toms.

Scott and his wife Lennea have been married for 32 years and have two children: Becky and Brian. Brian has joined them in working on the farm. 

Barry Koppen – MTGA

Barry Koppen lives in Spicer, MN with his wife Megan. He has a Financial Economics degree from Gustavus Adolphus College. Barry started his career working for Jennie-O Turkey Store in 2010 as an Area Supervisor working the Benson Area servicing company, lease, and contract farms.

Barry started at Purina Animal Nutrition in 2013 as a Poultry Sales Specialist. At Purina, he works with turkey, pheasant, layer, and broiler producers across the country to provide them with feed ingredients, complete feed, and nutritional services.

Paul Kvistad – MTGA

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 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.

Max Velo – MTRPC

Max Velo has been actively involved in the turkey industry for 12 years. With a farm in Ottertail County, he raises 400,000 hens per year. Max is particularly interested in domestic and international turkey markets, as well as animal health.

Max’s family consists of Piper, Daryl, Kelsey, Alanna and Nita.

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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Thanksgiving Week Kicks Off with Governor Dayton Talking Turkey

 MTGA Announces Donation of $9,000 Toward Turkey Product Purchases to Hunger Solutions Minnesota

St. Paul, MN (November 21, 2016) – Governor Mark Dayton continued the time-honored tradition – dating back to the 1940s – of kicking off Thanksgiving week with the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) and Minnesota Turkey Research & Promotion Council (MTRPC) at the State Capitol today. Also in special attendance was a tom (male) turkey, raised near Melrose, Minn.

“As we look back on 2016 and compare it to 2015, our farmers are thankful for the success we have had this year after rebounding from the impact of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza,” said MTRPC President Robert Orsten, a turkey breeder farmer from Willmar, Minn. ”Fortunately, 2016 has been influenza free for our flocks, yet we remain diligent in our preparation to protect bird health if the virus should return.”

At the event, Orsten announced the donation of approximately $9,000 to Hunger Solutions Minnesota (HSM), which will go toward the purchase of turkey products to 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 Orsten. “Minnesota’s turkey farmers are committed to helping do their part to combat hunger with our annual donation to Hunger Solutions Minnesota.”

Orsten grew up on a turkey farm, and today he and his family have farms in Kandiyohi and Swift counties where they raise 70,000 breeder turkeys and also grow corn, beans, and hay.

Since 2001, MTGA has donated approximately 235 million pounds of turkey to various areas of the state, which will feed 315,000 people in Minnesota. In other words, enough turkey feed Kandiyohi County – where the Orstens raise most of the birds – 7.5 times over!

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.

“As we prepare for Thanksgiving, it’s important to keep in mind our neighbors who struggle with food insecurity throughout the year,” said Colleen Moriarty, Executive Director of Hunger Solutions Minnesota. “Hunger Solutions Minnesota connects people in need with resources through the Minnesota Food HelpLine, and supports local food shelves throughout the state. The generosity of groups like the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association has an impact on the families we serve throughout the year.”

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

Current U.S. turkey production stands at 228 million this year – 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.

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 www.facebook.com/HungerSolutionsMinnesota

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Minnesota Turkey Releases “Day in the Life of a Turkey Farmer” Video

 

(BUFFALO, MN) – Minnesota turkey grower Wayne Knudsen of K & B Turkeys was recently featured in “A Day in the Life of a Turkey Farmer” video. This video is part of a series of videos created and published by the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) as an effort to promote and educate consumers about the turkey industry. These videos provide an insightful view into the life of a turkey farmer – the challenges and joys of raising turkeys in Minnesota.

Transparency is important to many consumers – they want to know where their food comes from, how it’s grown and how it’s processed. Tours of poultry facilities are limited due to biosecurity practices that are implemented to protect flock health. To get around this obstacle, the MTGA has put out these videos on their website to provide the public the opportunity to look inside a turkey facility.

Knudsen is one of the 450 turkey farmers in the state of Minnesota, and he was thrilled to be able to share his family’s turkey farm on the video. “This is a legacy. If you take care of the birds, the birds will take care of us and the next generation,” Knudsen said.

Minnesota ranks number one in turkey production in the United States, producing around 46 million turkeys per year.

Poultry leads the way in the world’s most advanced farm technology and production techniques. In the video, Knudsen explains how technology is used on his farm – from measuring feed output, temperature of barn and much more. Farmers go to great measures to ensure good health and well-being of their birds to produce a safe product for consumers.

As you enjoy your Thanksgiving meal this year, be sure to remember that it may be a Minnesota turkey farmer that raised it for you!

Knudsen’s video can be viewed on MinnesotaTurkey.com or YouTube.

Learn more about Minnesota turkey farm families at 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. 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)