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Farm Trucks & Cleaning Turkey Barns

Cleaning out turkey barns | via MinnesotaTurkey.com #turkeyeveryday #MNAg #agchat

Clean Out Equipment owned and operated by Riverbend Acres and Riverbend Trucking of Melrose.

One of my most favorite things on our turkey farm is the farm pickup truck.

I am not certain any farming operation could live without one. Ours happens to be a 1996 green, at least I think it is green, Chevy Silverado. I remember when we purchased it as a used vehicle; oh boy it was a good lookin’ shiny truck. We would regularly wash it inside and out, drive carefully and slowly on the gravel roads, avoided using it for dirty work and farm use. Well eventually, the green Chevy became more of the utility truck – you know the vehicle that is handy and generally available because, by then, it was not as shiny and new as it used to be.

Over time the Chevy pickup was transformed into an all purpose mobile shop, hardware store, lumber yard, service station, home office, recycling bin and moving truck. The former grey interior with the carefully Armor All-ed dash and control panel, became uniformly and thickly dust covered, faded and cracked from the elements. The floor mats, well they just plain disappeared under the necessary items that collect in a working farm truck like a battery charger, a can or two of WD 40, extension cord, crescent wrenches, pliers, hammers, pipe wrenches, wrappers from Little Debbie chocolate covered doughnuts, chaff, candy wrappers, receipts, work gloves – well you know. The formerly well buffed and waxed exterior has given way to rust, dents and a driver’s side door that stays shut only if the driver holds onto the handle or the half open window and the driver learns quickly not to take a right turn too fast!  After way too many missed regularly scheduled maintenance service jobs, the pickup just does not run as smooth as it used to. It has gone downhill with age.

But, I tell you what, that darn farm pick up is dependable, trustworthy and essential. It was about a month ago on the farm, when we ran into vehicle gremlins, everything from a dead battery in the car to the other truck being in the shop getting new tires. The last option was the farm pickup. By gosh the ol’ Chevy, started right up and we were on the road. So often, I hear the sputtering, missing engine as John heads out to the barns.

We use the pickup truck pretty much every day on the farm.  We can haul basically everything and anything in that truck.  Typically we use it to load and haul turkey gates, to check turkeys, run errands and do whatever is needed.

One of my favorite things to do is to drive around in the summer in the farm pickup truck with the windows down, looking at the crops of corn and soybeans, smelling the freshly cut alfalfa.  When cruising around in the spring and fall, my senses are reminded that manure needs to be cleaned out, spread and incorporated onto farm fields.

We too are part of that process.  We clean our barns after each flock.  Cleaning is a big job because for us it means the entire barn is cleaned.

The first task is to blow down as much dust in the barn as possible. Dust accumulates on rafters, fans and stoves due to the turkeys stirring up dust by running around in the sunflower hull bedding on the barn floor. The dust is blown down with a blower which is mounted to a bobcat/slid loader. Here’s a tip – don’t stand in the front of the blower or you will be blown over! It is a powerful blower, but it needs to be in order to reach to the rafters and to have enough power to remove the dust that sticks to screens that get rusty over time.

After the dust is down, then the walls, fans, vents and screens are power washed using a large water tank pulled through the center of the barn. Off the back of the washing tank are two high pressure washer wands that are used to power wash all surfaces.

After the washing is complete, then the litter on the floor is moved by a bobcat/skid steer to the center of the barn forming a mound of litter throughout the length of the barn. Great care must be taken when moving the litter to the center of the barn. The bobcat operator must pay close attention to the bucket and maneuver the bobcat and bucket to avoid hitting walls, supporting poles, or most importantly, the operator must have the skill to operate the levers and bucket so the floor of the turkey barn does not get torn up. The floors in the barns consist of heavily compacted clay, which is a solid and a water impermeable surface, but still no match for the power of a bobcat bucket.  If the driver does not pay attention to the position/angle of the bucket on the floor while moving the litter, the bucket will make holes in the floor, which results in an uneven living surface for turkeys.

The litter that was moved to the center of the barn is then removed with a front end Michigan loader, taken outside of the barn and immediately loaded onto semi trailers. The semi trailers are then covered with a heavy canvas and the litter leaves the farm and goes to farmers to use on their fields for fertilizer.

The process of cleaning is labor intensive, but clean facilities are a vital part of creating and sustaining a healthy living environment for the turkeys to grow.

John & Lynette Gessell | via MinnesotaTurkey.com #agchat #MNAg #turkeyeveryday

Lynette and her turkey farmer husband, John!

I am thinking about those old farm pickup trucks again. I’ve come to the conclusion that farm pickup trucks kind of take on the persona of the farmer themselves. Farmers begin young, handsome and strong, working daily to build their farming operations. Over the years, they don’t take the time for as much basic maintenance as they should, and eventually the farmer begins to show their wear and tear. After years of daily hard work, they may not look quite like they did when they were “new,” but be assured they will “run” when needed in all kinds of weather, in any condition and they just keep going.  They are dependable, trustworthy and essential to a farming operation above all else.

I love both of my farm trucks!

Twitter me @ lynnbackgess

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

On behalf of Minnesota’s 450 turkey farmers, turkey companies, and all of our vendor members, we wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! We hope your holidays are filled with love, joy, happiness and plenty of turkey on your table!

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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)

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Thanksgiving Week Kicks Off with Governor Dayton Talking Turkey

Contact:

MTGA Announces Donation of $12,000 Toward Turkey Product Purchases to Hunger Solutions Minnesota

St. Paul, MN (November 23, 2015) – 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 Morristown, Minn.

This year, the event holds special significance as Minnesota’s turkey farmers have had a particularly challenging year, after an unprecedented outbreak of highly-pathogenic avian influenza broke last spring. A total of 108 poultry farms (104 of those were turkey farms) were hit, but all farms are now well on their way to being back in business.

“Our farmers are rebounding and those impacted by avian influenza have restocked their barns with turkeys – or will be doing so soon. That’s why this Thanksgiving, we give special thanks for many reasons,” said MTRPC President Robert Orsten, a turkey breeder farmer from Willmar, Minn. “We especially appreciate the bipartisan support of the Governor and Minnesota legislature throughout this challenging year for our farmers.”

At the event, Orsten announced the donation of approximately $12,000 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 a quarter of a million pounds of turkey to various areas of the state – or enough turkey to feed the entire population of Saint Paul.

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. Every day in Minnesota 9,000 people visit a food shelf because they need help putting food on the table,” 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 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, although the actual amount in 2015 will be less than this because of the avian influenza outbreak. Regardless, Minnesota remains 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 http://www.minnesotaturkey.com/www.minnesotaturkey.com or find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/MinnesotaTurkey and Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey).

About Hunger Solutions Minnesota

Hunger Solutions Minnesota works to end hunger by advancing fair nutrition policy and guiding grassroots advocacy on behalf of hungry Minnesotans and the diverse groups that serve them. We connect Minnesota’s food shelves and hunger-relief organizations with the necessary funding, technical assistance and logistical support to reach thousands of Minnesota individuals, families and children in need. Our work is made possible through the generous support of donors across the country; each sharing our commitment to ensuring no Minnesotan will struggle with food insecurity alone.  For further information, visit www.hungersolutions.org/, on Twitter @hungersolutions or on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/HungerSolutionsMinnesota

Thanksgiving Week Kicks Off with Governor Dayton Talking Turkey

NEWS RELEASE

Contact:
Lara Durben, MTGA Communications Director
763/682-2171, cell 612/554-0920 or ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com
UPDATED:  11/24/14, 1:30 p.m.

St. Paul, MN (November 24, 2014) – Governor Mark Dayton welcomed the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) and two hen turkeys to the State Capitol today. The event marks a time-honored tradition, going back since the 1940s, of Minnesota’s Governor kicking off Thanksgiving week.

This year, the event holds special significance as MTGA is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2014. The organization was formed in 1939 by a group of turkey farmers who saw a need to come together to network and learn from each other, as well as advocate for turkey as a year-round protein option.

“Today we give thanks for our state’s strong agriculture industry and we reflect on the long and storied history of Minnesota’s turkey farmers. We are grateful our ability to provide food to a growing world population – including the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving table, the turkey,” said MTGA President and turkey farmer John Gorton, Pelican Rapids, Minn.

At the event, Gorton announced the donation of approximately 13,000 pounds of turkey (value – approximately $13,000) to Hunger Solutions Minnesota (HSM), which will be distributed to food shelves and food banks across the state.

We know there are many families who struggle to put food on the table,” said Gorton. “Minnesota’s turkey farmers are committed to helping do their part to combat hunger with our annual donation to Hunger Solutions Minnesota.”

The turkey donated today will feed 19,500 people.

Gorton is a 3rd generation family farmer who raises about 125,000 turkeys each year.

Since 2001, MTGA has donated 215,000 pounds of turkey to various areas of the state – or enough turkey to feed over 275,000 people (roughly the population of Saint Paul).  This year, this donation provides turkeys to families in communities such as Cannon Falls, Faribault, Melrose, Willmar, Thief River Falls, Frazee, Perham and Buffalo.

These funds have been raised from contributions by Minnesota’s turkey farmers and MTGA allied members as well as a portion of the sales from MTGA’s Turkey To Go restaurant at the Minnesota State .

HSM, a comprehensive hunger relief organization that works to end hunger in Minnesota, will coordinate the purchase and distribution of the turkey.

One in five Minnesota families struggles to put healthy meals on their tables.  The need for emergency food relief continues to be a problem in Minnesota even as our economy has improved.

“Hunger Solutions Minnesota is answering the call to end hunger with our Food HelpLine and new initiatives like the mobile food shelf network”, said Colleen Moriarty, Executive Director at Hunger Solutions.  “The unwavering generosity of Minnesota family farmers and the Minnesota Turkey Association has ripple effects throughout the state and onto the kitchen tables of needy Minnesota families.”

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

Current U.S. turkey production stands at 235 million this year – which means Minnesota farmers raise nearly 20% of all U.S. turkeys. U.S. turkey production was down about 3% overall this year; Minnesota saw a smaller drop in the 1-2% range. Approximately 95% of all Americans will eat turkey at Thanksgiving, according to the National Turkey Federation.

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

Each turkey raised in Minnesota brings $17.46 in economic value to the state – which means Minnesota’s turkeys and the farmers who raise them generate over $800 million in economic activity for the state.

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About MTGA

The MTGA, founded in 1939 and located in Buffalo, MN, is a nonprofit association dedicated to fostering a successful Minnesota turkey industry and its ability to make positive contributions to consumers, the economy, the environment and its members. Minnesota is currently ranked #1 for turkey production in the U.S. with its 250 turkey farmers raising an estimated 46 million turkeys in 2013. Minnesota has the most independent turkey farmers of any state in the U.S. For further information, visit www.minnesotaturkey.com or find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/MinnesotaTurkey and Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey).

About Hunger Solutions Minnesota
Hunger Solutions Minnesota works to end hunger by advancing fair nutrition policy and guiding grassroots advocacy on behalf of hungry Minnesotans and the diverse groups that serve them. We connect Minnesota’s food shelves and hunger-relief organizations with the necessary funding, technical assistance and logistical support to reach thousands of Minnesota individuals, families and children in need. Our work is made possible through the generous support of donors across the country; each sharing our commitment to ensuring no Minnesotan will struggle with food insecurity alone.  For further information, visit www.hungersolutions.org/, on Twitter @hungersolutions or on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/HungerSolutionsMinnesota

MTGA Announces 2013-14 President, Executive Committee

News Release

For immediate release

Contact:  Lara Durben, (763) 682-2171 or  ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

MTGA Announces 2013-14 President, Executive Committee

Officers Hail from Northfield,  Pelican Rapids, Redwood Falls & Roseau

(Buffalo, MN)…John Zimmerman, P & J Products Co., Northfield, Minn., has been elected President of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) and Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council (MTRPC) for 2012-2013.

“I am looking forward to the challenges and opportunities that MTGA will face in the year to come,” said Zimmerman after officially being handed the presidential gavel at the MTRPC-MTGA Annual Meeting on March 13 in

Saint Paul, Minn. “There are a great variety of businesses in the turkey industry and we don’t all agree on every issue, yet whether you raise a few thousand or several million turkeys, or work in a supporting industry, there are issues that affect us all and that is where associations like MTGA come in. A centralized organization dedicated to the well-being and continued success of our industry helps us achieve our goals.”

2013-14 MTGA Officers: Treasurer Gene Brownfield; Past President Duane Jaenicke; President John Zimmerman; and Vice President John Gorton.

2013-14 MTGA Officers: Treasurer Gene Brownfield; Past President Duane Jaenicke; President John Zimmerman; and Vice President John Gorton.

Zimmerman indicated that the number one goal of Minnesota’s turkey farmers in the coming year will be a return to profitability. “We need to continue to work with the University of Minnesota on relevant and timely research projects, continue to promote a positive image of our operations and animal husbandry practices,  and continue to develop and support  reasonable legislation and regulations that will help us remain competitive,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman runs the family farm – P & J Products, Northfield, MN – along with his mother, Karen Zimmerman. He has been in the turkey industry all his life and P & J Products raise approximately 3-4 million pounds of turkey annually and also raise 500 acres of corn and soybeans.

John graduated from Iowa State University with a BS degree in animal science. He also is a graduate of the Minnesota Agricultural Rural Leadership Program (MARL) and currently serves on the Board of Directors of MARL. In addition, he is board secretary of the River County Co-op. He and his wife, Kara, live in Northfield.

Jaenicke succeeds Duane Jaenicke, who officially steps into the Past President role.  Jaenicke runs P & J Farms along with his son, Scott. The farm raises approximately 100,000 to 130,000 hens for Northern Pride Cooperative in Thief River Falls, Minn.

The turkey business runs in the Jaenicke family – When he was growing up, Duane remembers the small flocks of turkeys his father raised, and today, Duane’s brother also raises turkeys. Duane began his P & J Farms venture in 1992.

For many years, Duane taught management education courses at Northland Community and Technical College and was named the 2001 Outstanding Ag Educator by the State Association of Management and Ag Educators in Minnesota. He retired from teaching in June 2005. Duane is active in his local church, has served on the church board, and currently is in charge of the cemetery. He and his wife, Bev, have three sons.

The remaining two members of the MTGA / MTRPC Executive Committee are Vice President  John Gorton, Gorton Turkeys Inc., Pelican Rapids, Minn., and Secretary-Treasurer Gene Brownfield, Winter Creek Farms, Redwood Falls, Minn.

John Gorton of Gorton Turkeys has spent his entire life in the turkey industry, including 18 active years as an adult – the early years with Jennie-O and later with this father.  Gorton Turkeys raises 360,000 hens, 44,000 consumer toms, 50,000 KBI toms and 50,000 heavy toms annually.

John is currently in starting his third term on the MTGA-MTRPC Board of Directors, having served since 2007. He also has been a featured farmer for the Farmers Feed Us program in Minnesota. John, his wife Trudy and family live in Pelican Rapids and have two sons. . He is an active member of the Pelican Rapids Jaycees and volunteers as a Den Leader for Cub Scouts.

Secretary-Treasurer Gene Brownfield currently produces 900,000 hens on farms in Renville and Brown counties. Gene represents MTGA on the Minnesota Ag Water Resources Coalition (MAWRC) and has served on the MTGA-MTRPC Board of Directors since 2008. Gene currently serves as an Elder at Cornerstone Christian Church and is a director in several local and state ministries. He also serves on the Boards and volunteers in community activities. Gene and his wife Janette have two children, Dean, who runs the family farm and Jayne who lives in Waconia. They also follow the activities of three active grandsons.

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 approximately 46 million turkeys in 2012. 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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