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Joint Statement – Halting Poultry Exhibitors at County Fairs, State Fair

Minnesota Turkey Logo CEAM Logo

Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA)  |  Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota (CEAM)

May 15, 2015

Attribute to: Steve Olson, Executive Director, MTGA and CEAM

We know the decision to halt poultry exhibitions at our county fairs and the Minnesota State Fair was not an easy one to make. This certainly affects the 4-H kids who plan for their projects all year long, and also means fewer opportunities for fairgoers across the state to learn about raising poultry.  However, this is the right decision because what’s most important at this point is protecting the health and well-being of the birds that are being raised by 4-H’ers, FFA members, and Minnesota’s poultry farmers.

As a former 4-Her myself, I understand how much time, effort and passion 4-H members put into their projects and I know this announcement is a disappointment to them. Exhibiting at the county and state fairs are some of my most memorable experiences in 4-H and FFA because it presented me with the opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone to share with judges and fairgoers what I learned about raising livestock and recordkeeping. That being said, we’re pleased that Minnesota 4-H and the Minnesota State Fair are exploring alternative learning experiences for 4-H members and fairgoers to offer at both the county fair and State Fair levels, and our organizations look forward to helping with these initiatives in whatever ways we can.

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Facts About Avian Influenza in Minnesota Turkey Flocks

For immediate release

Date: April 8, 2015

Contact:  Lara Durben

(Buffalo, Minn.) … Since early March, there have been a number of flocks of turkeys diagnosed with a highly-pathogenic strain of avian influenza (HPAI).  All incidences currently are isolated introductions of the HPAI strain known as H5N2; the flocks are on different farms in several different counties of the state.

“First and foremost, the Minnesota Department of Health assures us that this strain does not pose a health risk to the general public and no human infections have been identified in the U.S.,” said Steve Olson, executive director of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA). “Consumers should also know that HPAI is not a food safety issue.”

The turkey products you purchase are completely safe to eat: 

  • This is NOT a food safety issue. All flocks are tested for this virus, well before going to market. Any flocks tested positive for the virus are NOT allowed to enter the food supply.
  • All poultry identified with HPAI are prohibited by law from entering the marketplace.
  • As a reminder, all poultry and eggs should be handled properly and cooked to an internal temperature of 165° F to kill bacteria and viruses.

Olson  said turkey farmers continue to be on high alert. “Our experience so far has been this strain of HPAI is deadly to poultry, and in response, Minnesota’s turkey farmers are making significant increases to biosecurity measures on their farms to protect their flocks. Comprehensive disease prevention protocols on commercial turkey farms include, but are not limited to, restricting farm access, preventing flocks from exposure to wild and migratory birds, increasing veterinary monitoring of flocks, and using protective gear at all times.”

Olson indicated that MTGA is working closely with authorities as avian influenza surveillance proceeds and to keep our members updated on the findings of that testing.

“Providing excellent care of their flocks and ensuring the safety of the turkey products they produce are of critical importance to Minnesota’s turkey farmers, and the turkey farming community is taking USDA’s identification of avian influenza in the U.S. very seriously,” said Olson.

Backyard and pastured flocks could be at a higher risk as these birds may be in closer contact with carriers of HPAI, such as waterfowl. Owners of such flocks are urged to take the precautionary measures:

  • Restrict access from wildlife and wild birds to your birds by use of enclosed shelter and fencing of the outdoor areas. (Consider use of smaller mesh hardware cloth which allows exclusion of wild birds while still allowing outdoor exposure.)
  • Keep feeders and waterers clean and out of reach of wild birds. Clean up feed spills.
  • Use dedicated or clean clothing and foot wear when working with poultry
  • Don’t share equipment or reuse materials like egg cartons from neighbors and bird owners, you could be borrowing disease.

MTGA has several fact sheets and web links with much more information about HPAI and biosecurity measures for farmers at minnesotaturkey.com/farmers/hot-topics/avian-influenza/.

You may also visit the Minnesota Board of Animal Health’s website on avian influenza:  www.mnairesponse.info.

For more information on avian influenza basics for backyard flocks, please visit the University of Minnesota Extension Poultry Website at where there are two factsheets available:

Another good source of information for backyard flocks is this USDA website: http://healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov/.

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 in 2014. 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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Looking Back on 2014

As we move toward a new year, we took a few moments to capture 2014 in photos. This video highlights the people and events that made this a most amazing 75th anniversary year for the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association. Check it out – and Merry Christmas!

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

Myth-Busting: Turkey Style

For immediate release

Contact: Lara Durben, Phone: 763/682-2171 | Mobile: 612/554-0920, ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

 

MYTH:

Turkeys are pumped full of added hormones and steroids so they fatten up quickly.

TRUTH:

All turkeys in the U.S. are raised without any added hormones and steroids. There are no hormones or steroids approved by the FDA for use in poultry and haven’t been since the 1950s. Turkeys are fed a healthy diet of whole and pelleted grains as well as vitamins. Feed for turkeys comes from Minnesota’s soybean and corn farmers. Turkeys always have access to fresh, clean water.

 

MYTH:

Turkeys are cooped up in barns, so close together they can’t move.

TRUTH:

Turkeys are raised in barns that provide a safe, comfortable home with plenty of space to move around.  Barns – which are specially designed just for turkeys – keep predators away, help farmers control germs and diseases from getting to the birds, and allow maximum comfort – turkeys stay cool in the summer, warm in the winter, and dry during inclement weather. Turkeys are not raised in cages.

 

MYTH:

The use of antibiotics in turkey production doesn’t have any oversight and turkey farmers use a litany of antibiotics regardless of whether their birds are sick or healthy.

TRUTH:

Antibiotic use in turkeys is overseen by veterinarians and follows strict guidelines.  Approved antibiotics in poultry production can be used to 1) individually treat sick birds, 2) control disease within an entire flock that has sick birds in it; and 3) to prevent disease completely. Depending on the situation, a farmer may choose to treat only the birds that are sick with antibiotics, but it is also true that a farmer may want to administer antibiotics to an entire flock after some sick birds in the flock are diagnosed. As is the case with humans and germs, sick birds can spread illness to healthy birds pretty quickly so sometimes the best way to ensure a flock stays as healthy as possible is to treat all the birds with medication.

Some poultry companies have announced they are ending the use of antibiotics for the overall prevention of disease; however, they will continue to use antibiotics as needed to treat sick birds and control disease within an entire flock because it’s the right thing to do for the birds. Turkey farmers feel it is the humane thing to do to treat sick birds with antibiotics, if that is the treatment prescribed by a veterinarian. We don’t know any farmer who wants to see his or her birds suffer from illness.

If antibiotics are prescribed to a flock, there is a mandatory withdrawal period and random testing by USDA before the birds can be processed, insuring that there are absolutely no antibiotic residues in the birds when they go to market.

 

MYTH:

There are very few family farmers who raise turkeys.

TRUTH:

Most turkey farms are operated by family farmers. Minnesota has the most independent turkey farmers of any U.S. state. and many of our 450 turkey farmers are 3rd, 4th and even 5th generation farm families.

 

MYTH:

Eating turkey makes you very tired.

TRUTH:

No, it’s not the turkey’s fault! Recent studies have shown that it is more likely a large, carbohydrate-rich meal – like the kind we eat at Thanksgiving – rather than just the turkey that causes sleepiness.  A carb-heavy meal like this releases tryptophans in the brain, causing drowsiness.

 

MYTH:

I have to get up at 4 a.m. to roast the turkey for Thanksgiving.

TRUTH:

Not these days! A whole turkey (unstuffed) that’s 8-12 pounds will take 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 hours to roast (a little longer if you stuff the turkey), so if you are planning a noon feast, you do not have to get up at 4 a.m.  And remember – the best measurement of doneness is with a meat thermometer that reaches 180 degrees in the thigh and 165 degrees in the breast.

 

MYTH:

Turkey is only eaten during the holidays in November and December.

TRUTH:

More and more Americans realize turkey isn’t just for the holidays. Although 50 percent of all turkey consumed in 1970 was during the holidays, today that number is around 31 percent. Incidentally, 95% of Americans will eat turkey at Thanksgiving this year.

 

MYTH:

The white meat of a turkey is better for you than dark meat.

TRUTH:

No matter what your preference, turkey is a lean source of protein with plenty of nutrient advantages. While a 3 oz. portion of turkey breast has 20 fewer calories and 3 more grams of protein than a similar-sized portion of turkey thigh, the dark meat actually has a higher mineral count and more iron, zinc and selenium.

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Sources: Minnesota Turkey Research & Promotion Council, National Turkey Federation, JennieO.com, Butterball.com, Food Network.com.

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).

 

Minnesota Turkey – By The Numbers

It’s #FarmFactFriday and we’re sharing a new infographic all about Minnesota’s turkey industry. Did  you know:

  • Minnesota has 450 turkey farmers – many of whom come from 3rd, 4th and even 5th generation farm families!  (You can learn more about our farmers’ family connections here.)
  • Every turkey raised in Minnesota brings over $17 of economic impact to the state. Multiple $17 times 46 million birds raised each year, and that’s a lot of economic impact!
  • Farmers in Kandiyohi County raise the most turkeys in Minnesota.
  • Minnesota is home to three turkey processing companies – Jennie-O Turkey Store, Turkey Valley Farms and Northern Pride Cooperative. Collectively, these companies employ nearly 8,000 people.
  • The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association was formed in 1939 – that’s 75 years ago!

Check out the infographic for even more fun facts – and save this for Thanksgiving. It will give you some great conversation starters for the big meal!

Minnesota Turkey - By The Numbers Infographic

MTGA Announces 2014-15 President, Executive Committee

News Release

For immediate release

Contact:  Lara Durben

Phone:     (763) 682-2171

E-mail:      ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

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

(Buffalo, MN)… John Gorton, Gorton Turkeys, Pelican Rapids, Minn., has been elected President of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) and Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council (MTRPC) for 2014-15.

“2014 is our 75th anniversary of MTGA as an organization. In order to create our future, we will need to continue to identify opportunities and meet challenges head on,” said Gorton after officially being handed the presidential gavel at the MTRPC-MTGA Annual Meeting on March 19 in Saint Paul, Minn. “The most effective way to do that is to continue our model of industry cooperation and partnerships with other agriculture organizations, the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Board of Animal Health.”

Gorton has spent his entire life in the turkey industry, including 19 active years as an adult – the early years with Jennie-O Turkey and later with this father.  Gorton Turkeys raises over 500,000 turkeys (a combination of both hens and toms) annually.

John is currently serving his third term on the MTGA and MTRPC Boards. 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.

Gorton succeeds John Zimmerman, who officially steps into the Past President role. 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, who is serving his third term on the MTGA and MTRPC Boards,  graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in animal science. He also is a graduate of the Minnesota Agricultural Rural Leadership Program (MARL) and spent several years serving 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.

The remaining two members of the MTGA / MTRPC Executive Committee are Vice President  Gene Brownfield, Winter Creek Farms, Redwood Falls, Minn., and Treasurer Robert Orsten, Orsten Turkeys of Willmar, Minn.

Secretary-Treasurer Gene Brownfield  currently raises hens on farms in Renville and Brown counties. Gene is serving his third term on the MTGA and MTRPC Boards and also represents MTGA on the Minnesota Ag Water Resources Coalition (MAWRC).

Gene currently serves as an Elder at Cornerstone Christian Church and is a director in several local and state ministries. He also serves on several 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. Gene’s hobbies include fishing and relaxing at the lake cabin.

Treasurer Robert Orsten has worked 23 years in the turkey industry. With farms in Kandiyohi and Swift counties, his family raises 70,000 breeder turkeys and also grows corn, beans and hay. He is serving his third term on the MTGA and MTRPC Boards.

Robert served on the school board for Community Christian School eight years; four years as secretary and four years as president. He is currently a township supervisor, elected in 2008. He and his wife, Rochelle, have five children: Talia, Autumn, RJ, Brady and James. His hobbies include boating, camping, spending time with family and friends, raising Hereford cattle and his kids’ sporting events.

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 2013. 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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Photo cutline:  From left, Treasurer Robert Orsten, Past President John Zimmerman and President John Gorton; not pictured is Vice President Gene Brownfield.

Gene Brinton, Willmar, Minn., Honored with MTGA’s Most Prestigious Award

News Release

For immediate release

Contact:  Lara Durben

Phone:     (763) 682-2171

E-mail:      ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

(Buffalo, MN )  … The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) presented its prestigious Ranelius Award Gene Brinton, Willmar, Minn., at its annual meeting on March 19 in Saint Paul, Minn.

“The Ranelius Award is the most prestigious honor given by the MTGA,” said John Zimmerman, 2013-14 MTGA President. “It signifies leadership and dedication to the industry based on contributions made to enhance Minnesota’s turkey industry, and Gene Brinton is well deserved of this special honor.”

Gene is originally from Ellsworth, Iowa, where he was raised on the family farm that he still owns today.  His lifelong involvement with the care and management of turkeys began as a young boy in the 1940s while helping his father and his brothers raise turkeys on their farms.

Gene’s career has always been dedicated to the turkey industry. His first job after getting married was working for Don “Chick” Thoreson at the Ellsworth Turkey Hatchery and from there Gene moved on to work for turkey nutrition based companies while also raising turkeys as an independent grower.  Several years later, Gene was given the opportunity to join Farmland CO-OP as a turkey health and nutrition specialist and remained with Farmland until the late 60s when he moved his family from Ellsworth, Iowa to Willmar, Minnesota to become a sales representative for the I.D. Russell Company.

In the late 1970s, Gene decided it was time to pursue his lifelong dream to have his own company and in 1980 founded Brinton Veterinary Supply, Inc. (BVS), a veterinary supply company specializing in turkey health and husbandry products.  Over the next several years Gene expanded the company to include nutrition consulting, a federally licensed veterinary vaccine production laboratory (Brinton Laboratories), and a diagnostic laboratory (Brinton Veterinary Services later known as Poultry Veterinary Centers).

Through the years, Gene has always been dedicated to developing effective quality health products for the turkey industry and received a patent for a product that reduces diarrhea in turkeys, acquired federal licenses for vaccine products, and also established multiple trademark turkey health products.

Gene continued to successfully lead Brinton Veterinary Supply until his retirement in 2001 when BVS was renamed Best Veterinary Solutions and was purchased by Wes Thoreson and Randy Olsen who continue to offer quality health and husbandry products to the turkey industry.

Although retired, Gene continues to be active in the turkey grower community and enjoys participating in associated golf outings and attending the Midwest Poultry Federation Convention each year, but most of all he enjoys seeing the many friends he has made over the years. Gene and his wife Nola have been married for 62 years and have two children, Jackie Brinton Mourning and Dr.  M. Kim Brinton, both of whom have worked alongside Gene in 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.

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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 approximately 46 million turkeys in 2013. 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)

Badger Family Receives Turkey Promoter of the Year

News Release

For immediate release

Contact:  Lara Durben

Phone:     (763) 682-2171

E-mail:      ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

 (Buffalo, MN )  … The Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council (MTRPC) has honored John and Joni Burkel and their five children with its 2014 “Turkey Promoter of the Year” award.

Burkel continued a long-standing tradition when he stepped into the role of the National Turkey Federation (NTF) Chairman in 2013 – making him the 11th Minnesotan to serve in this prestigious role. As part of that role, Burkel and his family set about to raise the National Thanksgiving Turkey that would get pardoned by President Obama prior to Thanksgiving in November 2013.

“John and his family raised the bar for future Thanksgiving media campaigns with the work they did,” said MTRPC President John Zimmerman of Northfield, Minn.

The Burkel family did numerous media interviews with reporters and photographers across the U.S. and were deeply involved in the Presidential Turkey Project coordinated by MTRPC. The Burkels were featured on the front cover of the Wall Street Journal, Time magazine, CNN, a White House blog and many more media outlets. They also welcomed school visits to their farm and took every opportunity to promote turkey to a variety of audiences. This was all in addition to Burkel’s regular NTF business as Chairman and his day-to-day responsibilities on his Badger, Minn. turkey farm and with his family, which includes wife Joni and kids Vanessa, Andrea, Alex, Jack and Emily.

Said Zimmerman: “For the Burkel family’s willingness to give the nation a glimpse into their farm and family and as a token of our appreciation, we present you with our Promoter of the Year award.”

The award was presented at the MTRPC Annual Meeting on March 19 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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