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Our Farm Family Moments

Biosecurity is a way of life on our farms.  It is never far from our thought process.

We have come to realize that operational biosecurity is about awareness and action. Awareness of how our actions or inactions may impact flock health. We must have awareness to our clothing, to our footwear, to our vehicles and farm equipment. We have awareness of how close anything gets to the barn and what enters the barn. We have awareness of just how much wildlife, both winged and footed, are around the farms. Our mindset is one of – how does what we do lessen the potential of virus introduction onto the farm and into the flocks in our day to day work on the farm?  We weave biosecurity into each day, teaching it to the next generation, in hopes that for them it will be second nature.

Fact: Biosecurity is now a way of life on the farm and has changed many things about how we do our day to day work. However, we feel strongly that the practice of biosecurity will not stop our family from being close to and enjoying our flocks. We encourage the grandchildren to be involved in taking care of the farm. It is through their hands-on involvement with the farm and livestock that they learn practical skills and responsibility. We believe that it is in the moments of working with and caring for living things when the love of farming takes roots and lasts a lifetime.

We hope you enjoy some of our farm family moments.

Our Farm Family Moments | via MinnesotaTurkey.com/wingtips

The Gessell Family. Our children grew up on our turkey farm. They all continue to love the farm and enjoy bringing their children home to the farm. Samantha and JonPaul are now in partnership with us raising turkeys. (Photo, from left: Nick and Marissa with Piper, JonPaul and Samantha with Lawrence and Lillian and Austin.)

Our Farm Family Moments | via MinnesotaTurkey.com/wingtips

Here is Grandpa John with daughter Samantha and grandchildren Lawrence and Lillian taking a moment to watch the birds that were just moved into the finishing barn.

Here is Grandpa John with daughter Samantha and grandchildren Lawrence and Lillian taking a moment to watch the birds that were just moved into the finishing barn.

Lawrence just can’t get enough!

Here is Grandpa John with daughter Samantha and grandchildren Lawrence and Lillian taking a moment to watch the birds that were just moved into the finishing barn.

Neither can little Lillian!

Lawrence is  taking instruction from his dad on how to use the feed scoops to feed baby turkeys.

Some skills take practice to master – including feeding the birds!

Cousin Piper comes home to help.

 

On the hunt in the haystack to see if momma kitty had her babies!

Our Farm Family Moments | via MinnesotaTurkey.com/wingtips

When Cousin Piper comes to see Lawrence, they just have to take a spin around the farm.

 

Our Farm Family Moments | via MinnesotaTurkey.com/wingtips

Back to work.  Lawrence is in the shop learning to use the vice.

 

Our Farm Family Moments | via MinnesotaTurkey.com/wingtips

Here are Lillian and Lawrence again, check out the flock!

Our Farm Family Moments | via MinnesotaTurkey.com/wingtips

Oh boy, a sewer clog!  Call the pumper truck.

Our Farm Family Moments | via MinnesotaTurkey.com/wingtips

Here is JonPaul enjoying a ride on the lawn tractor with his hands and his heart full!

Our Farm Family Moments | via MinnesotaTurkey.com/wingtips

Our little Viking Granddaughter Lillian enjoying a turkey drumstick.

Our family wishes you a wonderful Thanksgiving Day surrounded by the ones you love!

Lynette and John

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.