Posts

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Episode #9 – Scoop on Poop!

What The Cluck! - the podcast of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association and the Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota

In this episode, host Steve Olson is joined by Dr. Melissa Wilson, Assistant Professor of Manure Management and Water Quality at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Sally Noll, an Extension Poultry Specialist from the University of Minnesota, and Paul Kvistad, Vice President of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association. The four discuss the importance of manure to farmers and the soil, its nutritional content for crops, manure management, and current and pending manure research.

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Episode #8 – Understanding A Greater Minnesota

What The Cluck! - the podcast of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association and the Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota

In this episode, host Steve Olson is joined by Dr. Adam Birr, Executive Director of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association and the Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion Council and Dave Preisler, CEO of the Minnesota Pork Board. The three discuss A Greater Minnesota; what it’s about, how agriculture impacts all Minnesotans, and how you as a voter can ask your legislators to support Minnesota agriculture. Learn more about AGM at www.farmandfoodmn.org.

Meet an MTGA Member

Meet an MTGA Member | via MinnesotaTurkey.com/wingtips

In a new ongoing series on the blog, Minnesota Turkey will introduce you to some of our members – while others are farmers or work for turkey companies and/or allied industries. All have a passion for turkey!

Up first is Max Velo with Evelo Farms, who has been actively involved in the turkey industry for 13 years. With a farm in Ottertail County, he raises 400,000 hens per year. Max is married to wife Piper and the couple recently welcomed their first child, a daughter. In his spare time, he enjoys music and reading books.

What’s the latest technology you implemented on your farm?

The latest technology I have implemented on my farm are Stenner pumps.  I use them for managing a consistent water sanitation program.  Clean and sanitized water is one of the most important factors in turkey health.

What’s the best farming advice you ever received?

Farming is tough.  There are so many factors that are out of my direct control that can affect my farm and my results in large ways.  Keeping expectations realistic is very important.  The best farming advice I have ever received would be from two people.  “Know your numbers” from my uncle, and “Plan for the worst but hope for the average” from my father.

Why did you decide to become a Board Director of the Minnesota Turkey Research & Promotion Council?

I grew up on the farm and have been doing chores my entire life.  I chose to become a Board Director to meet more people in the industry, get a larger perspective of what turkeys mean to Minnesota, and have a reason to take a day off once in awhile.

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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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MTGA Announces Allied Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

2016 MTGA Allied Lifetime Achievement Award | Minnesota Turkey Growers Association

(BUFFALO, MN) – Brad Kelley of Animal Health International was honored for his many years of service to Minnesota’s turkey industry at the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) Summer Conference last week in Duluth, Minn. Kelley received the 2016 MTGA Allied Lifetime Achievement Award.

MTGA Allied Committee Member Errol Lagred of Best Veterinary Solutions, Inc. presented the award to Kelley on Thursday, June 16, as he was surrounded by friends, colleagues and family members.

Kelley started his career in animal health in 1979 at Iowa Vet in Mankato, Minn. where he worked in the warehouse and drove semi-truck for seven years. Kelley continued to excel in his career in animal health and accepted a job in the office as an inside sales person and later on, accepted an outside sales position. Kelley currently works for Animal Health International, in his 37th year of his career in animal health.

“I am honored to present the Allied Lifetime Achievement Award to Brad Kelley. Brad is an exceptional individual with a strong passion for animal health. His outstanding service to the turkey industry has benefited many turkey growers over the years,” said MTGA Allied Committee Member Errol Lagred.

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

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

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 further details, visit www.minnesotaturkey.com.

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Photo cutline: Brad Kelley (Animal Health International) and MTGA Allied Committee Chairman Errol Lagred (Best Veterinary Solutions).

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MTGA Announces Unsung Hero Award Recipients

2016 Unsung Heroes Award | Minnesota Turkey Growers Association

University of Minnesota MCROC Staffers in Willmar, Minn. Honored

(BUFFALO, MN) –  Cristian Flores Figueroa and Jeannette Munoz Aguayo – technicians with the University of Minnesota’s MidCentral Outreach Center (MCROC) in Willmar, Minn. – were awarded the inaugural Unsung Heroes Award at the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) Summer Conference last week in Duluth, Minn. Cristian and Jeannette were recognized for their development of an early Avian Influenza (AI) detection tool. By sampling the drinking water in turkey barns, this technique is able to pick up the virus two to three days before clinical signs show up in a flock. Cristian and Jeannette’s contributions and research has greatly improved early detection of AI in flocks.

Said MTGA Executive Director Steve Olson, “These two scientists were able to take a molecular biology laboratory from a handful of samples per day to hundreds in a very short time. They opened their lab to our industry and have run a plethora of emergency samples at all hours of the day and worked countless weekends. We are grateful for their expertise and many hours of service.”

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 further details, visit www.minnesotaturkey.com.

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Photo cutline: Jeannette Munoz Aguayo (left) and Cristian Flores Figueroa (middle), technicians at the University of Minnesota MidCentral Outreach Center receive the Unsung Heroes Award from MTGA Executive Director Steve Olson (right).

 

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Outgoing MTGA & MTRPC Board Directors Honored for Dedication to Turkey Industry

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Lara Durben (Email | 763-682-2171)

(Buffalo, MN)… Turkey farmers John Gorton, Pelican Rapids, Minn., and John Zimmerman, Northfield, Minn., 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 organization’s Board of Directors at its Annual Meeting on March 16 in Saint Paul, Minn.

MTGA and MTRPC outgoing director John Zimmerman

MTGA and MTRPC outgoing director John Zimmerman

Gorton and Zimmerman both served nine years total for the two organizations and are past presidents of MTGA and MTRPC.

“On behalf of MTGA, I thank these two directors for their dedication and leadership to our organization,” said MTRPC Robert Orsten. “They have made significant contributions to our

MTGA and MTRPC outgoing director John Gorton

MTGA and MTRPC outgoing director John Gorton

organization and Minnesota’s turkey industry and their commitment to both MTGA 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 Board Election Results Announced

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Lara Durben (Email | 763-682-2171)

(Buffalo, MN)… The Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council (MTRPC) and the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association have announced election results for each of its Board of Directors.

The newly elected directors are:

MINNESOTA TURKEY GROWERS ASSOCIATION

Region 1

Nancy Kothrade, Jennie-O Turkey Store, Willmar

At-Large Positions

Chris Huisinga, AgForte, Willmar (incumbent)

Scott Christensen, Jennie-O Turkey Store, Willmar (incumbent)

MINNESOTA TURKEY RESEARCH & PROMOTION COUNCIL

Region 2

John Peterson, Peterson Turkey Hatchery, Cannon Falls

At-Large Positions

Chris Huisinga, AgForte, Willmar (incumbent)

Scott Jones, Jennie-O Turkey Store, Willmar (incumbent)

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 16 in Saint Paul, Minn.

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

Scott ChristensenScott Christensen

Scott Christensen currently works as the Director of Breeders, Hatchery and Nutrition Services for Jennie-O Turkey Store and his office is 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 daughers – Carrisa, Tess and Jenna.

Chris HuisingaChris Huisinga

Christopher T. 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 and Ella, live in Willmar, Minn.

Scott JonesScott Jones

Scott Jones currently works for Jennie-O Turkey Store as Director of Procurement and has been in the turkey business for over 21 years. His primary role involves procuring and planning how to utilize growing capacity to meet the planned needs of the company.

While going to college he spent every summer working either on a turkey farm or in one of the Willmar-area processing plants. After graduating from Concordia College, Scott returned to Jennie-O and eventually was offered a job in the Quality Control area. As part of the Quality Control group he held several positions in the Willmar processing plants from a Quality Control Engineer to Quality Control Manager in two of Jennie-O’s Willmar facilities. After working in the Quality Control area, he moved into Live Bird Scheduling which he did up until his current position with Jennie-O Turkey Store.

Nancy KothradeNancy Kothrade

Nancy Kothrade has worked for the past six years in the turkey industry, most recently as Live Production Specialist for Jennie-O Turkey Store. Prior to that, she spent two years working at University of Minnesota’s poultry nutrition laboratory where she assisted with multiple nutritional research projects, cared for birds at Rosemont, MN facility and campus teaching and research facility, and performed lab analysis on feed samples.

She worked closely with USDA-APHIS throughout the 2015 highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak. In her current role at Jennie-O Turkey Store, she supports growers to analyze and implement new technologies to improve all aspects of the turkey production process.

Nancy has a BS in animal science-poultry production from the University of Minnesota and is currently working toward her MBA through West Texas A&M University. She also is a 2009 graduate of the Midwest Poultry Consortium at the University of Wisconsin- Madison

John PetersonJohn Peterson

John Peterson is the third-generation of his family to grow turkeys on his farm in Cannon Falls.  John returned to his family’s farm in 2008 to begin direct-selling their turkey under their own label, Ferndale Market.  John is actively engaged in both turkey production and the selling of their turkey products.  Today Ferndale Market’s free-range & antibiotic-free turkey products are found in natural food stores and served in many restaurants and college and corporate foodservice settings throughout the Upper Midwest.

The Peterson family also operates an on-farm store, retailing local foods from over 100 producers.  John is currently serving as Chair of the Cannon Falls Chamber of Commerce and has been active in local economic development efforts. John is a graduate of Augustana College, Sioux Falls, SD with a degree in Business & Communication.  He and his wife, Erica, have a son, Finn.

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 2016-17 Officers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Lara Durben (Email | 763-682-2171)

(Buffalo, MN)… The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) and Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council (MTRPC) announce the following slates of officers for 2016-2017:

MINNESOTA TURKEY GROWERS ASSOCIATION

MTGA Executive Committee  - Secretary-Treasurer Scott Christensen, President Gene Brownfield, and Vice President Chris Huisinga

MTGA Executive Committee – Secretary-Treasurer Scott Christensen, President Gene Brownfield, and Vice President Chris Huisinga

President – Gene Brownfield, Winter Creek Farms, Redwood Falls

Vice President – Chris Huisinga, AgForte, Willmar

Secretary-Treasurer – Scott Christensen, Jennie-O Turkey Store, Willmar

MINNESOTA TURKEY RESEARCH & PROMOTION COUNCIL

President – Robert Orsten, Orsten Turkeys, Willmar

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

Secretary-Treasurer – Kim Halvorson, Halvorson Turkeys, Morristown

Officers were officially announced at the annual meetings of the MTGA and MTRPC, held March 16 in Saint Paul, Minn.

MTGA President 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. He is serving his third term on the MTGA board.MTRPC Officers: President Robert Orsten, Secretary-Treasurer Kim Halvorson, and Vice President Scott Jones

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.

MTRPC President Robert Orsten has worked nearly 25 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 MTRPC board.

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.

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

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