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The Family Business of Raising Turkeys

 

The Family Business of Raising Turkeys | via MinnesotaTurkey.com #turkeyeveryday #MNAg #turkeys #FarmHer

A lot has changed since my last Minnesota Turkey blog post – I am no longer the Ag Program Specialist and Membership Coordinator at the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association.  I recently got the opportunity to return home to be the 6th generation on my family farm. I’ve been full-time on the farm now for one month and am blessed beyond belief that I get to continue our family tradition of raising turkey breeders (along with my husband who is also a high school agriculture teacher).

I want to take this opportunity to briefly talk about one of the many reasons Minnesota turkey farmers have been successful over the years and continue to be.  Many of the turkey farms in Minnesota are multi-generational – consisting of 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th generations.  Knowledge is passed down from generation to generation.

The Family Business of Raising Turkeys | via MinnesotaTurkey.com #turkeyeveryday #MNAg #turkeys #FarmHer

On my family farm, there are currently three generations working together – myself being the youngest and my grandfather the oldest. This past month, I’ve been working alongside my grandfather – he is the ripe age of 85 and continues to be instrumental on our farm.  The experiences my grandfather has gained and the changes he’s seen in farming are irreplaceable.  Even though I’ve grown up helping on the farm my entire life, there’s a partial lack of understanding based on inexperience in keeping a business running, hen behavior at every age, disease symptoms, analyzing farm inputs, and managing the ventilation system and temperature in the barns with the changing Minnesota weather, to name a few examples.

The Family Business of Raising Turkeys | via MinnesotaTurkey.com #turkeyeveryday #MNAg #turkeys #FarmHer

I believe what impresses me the most is how we as a family and the turkey industry as a whole, have continued to improve how we raise and care for our turkeys.  Because we now raise our turkeys in barns, we are able to raise turkeys year round in a comfortable temperature.  My grandfather has told me stories of shoveling turkeys out of snow that were buried in an early fall snow storm, or pulling turkeys out of mud after a heavy spring rain. We are now able to vaccinate for many diseases that my grandfather and his family fought to prevent from sickening their turkeys. The feed our turkeys consume at every age fulfill their requirements – a turkey hen laying eggs has different mineral and vitamin needs than a poult (baby turkey). Turkeys are curious creatures, so our waterers and feeders are bright colors such as green, red, and yellow – which help encourage poults to drink and eat.

The Family Business of Raising Turkeys | via MinnesotaTurkey.com #turkeyeveryday #MNAg #turkeys #FarmHer

How we raise turkeys today is very different from how my grandfather’s family raised turkeys many, many years ago.  Through the years, he has learned many things that are getting passed down to me.  Many of those things are helping mold me into a better farmer and a better care taker of our turkeys.

Minnesota Turkey Debuts New Website Just in Time for Thanksgiving!

NEWS RELEASE

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

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

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

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

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

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

MTGA is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. The organization, founded in 1939, has the most independent turkey farmers of any state in the U.S. and is also home to three successful turkey processing companies – Jennie-O Turkey Store in Willmar, Northern Pride Cooperative in Thief River Falls, and Turkey Valley Farms in Marshall.  These companies collectively employ nearly 8,000 people and have created over 2,000 turkey products for the consumer and foodservice markets that are shipped across the country and the world.

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

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About MTGA

The MTGA, located in Buffalo, MN, is a nonprofit association dedicated to fostering a successful Minnesota turkey industry and its ability to make positive contributions to consumers, the economy, the environment and its members. Minnesota is currently ranked #1 for turkey production in the U.S. with its 450 turkey farmers raising an estimated 46 million turkeys annually. For further information, visit www.minnesotaturkey.com or find us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MinnesotaTurkey), Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey), Pinterest (www.pinterest.com/minnesotaturkey) and YouTube (www.youtube.com/minnesotaturkey).