Posts

,

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.

###

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

,

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.

###

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).

 

,

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.”

###

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)

,

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)

###

,

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) 

###

,

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.

###

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

,

Learn about Poultry Farming at Minnesota State Fair

For immediate release

Contact:                                                                                                      

  • Lara Durben, Minnesota Turkey Research & Promotion Council
  • Ph: 763/682-2171 (office) or 612/554-0920 (cell)
  • ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

(Buffalo, MN) … The Minnesota State Fair is the place to be to learn about poultry farming, with multiple locations throughout the fairgrounds dedicated to turkeys, chickens and egg laying hens.

The Poultry Barn – located on Clough Street across the street from Turkey To Go concession stand – will not be displaying live birds this year because of the highly-pathogenic avian influenza outbreak. However, there is a wealth of information planned for this space on Minnesota’s turkey farmers, including:

  • Watch “A Day in the Life of a Turkey Farmer” video , as farmer Scott Heymer of Red Bridge Farms, Princeton, Minnesota, walks you through the typical tasks of his day while also talking about the priorities of bird health, food safety, and protecting the environment. (View here: http://minnesotaturkey.com/farmers/farmer-videos/)
  • Take a “Turkey Selfie” in front of a photo backdrop of turkeys.
  • Thank a farmer by writing a postcard, generously provided by the Minnesota State Fair. Your card will be delivered to one of the many poultry farmers in Minnesota.
  • View the informative banners and other information about avian influenza and poultry production
  • Listen to presentations on poultry by veterinarians, farmers and others.

Minnesota Turkey Research & Promotion Council’s booth in the Dairy Building will feature:

  • A large pictorial display on the history of turkey farming
  • A comprehensive look at how turkey products get to your kitchen table
  • A fun turkey-cutout of a tom (male) and hen (female) turkey for photos
  • Free recipe cards and other brochures

Both the popular Miracle of Birth Center and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s booth in the Horticulture Building will display several informative banners on avian influenza and poultry production.

And don’t miss Gobble Gobble Cluck Cluck Day on Thursday, September 3 at the Christensen Farms Stage next to the Miracle of Birth Center, where a variety of fun and interactive activities will take place from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.:

  • Minute to Win It – Gobble Gobble Cluck Cluck Edition – a game show (with prizes!) for all ages where folks can hone their skills at an egg tower, feather challenge, ponginator, corn/soybean sort, and more!
  • Gobble Gobble Cluck Cluck Trivia Challenge – test your knowledge of all things poultry and win prizes!
  • Poultry Dance – Join Tom and Tillie Turkey as they dance their tailfeathers off to the ever-popular Chicken Dance!

“While live poultry will not be shown at the State Fair this year due to the highly-pathogenic avian influenza outbreak hitting Minnesota’s poultry industry this past spring, we’re confident that we have a variety of activities, displays, and information available for fairgoers who are interested in poultry farming,” said MTRPC Executive Director Steve Olson. “We are  especially grateful for the support and efforts of the Minnesota State Fair, FFA, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, and 4-H organizations as we all worked together to make this a positive poultry experience for fairgoers.”

About Minnesota Turkey Research & Promotion Council (MTRPC)

The Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council is an organization of turkey farmers that is recognized as a leading source for the latest turkey information.  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. MTRPC is the first agriculture checkoff organization in Minnesota’s history.

The state ranks #1 for turkey production and processing in the U.S. with its 450 turkey farmers raising approximately 46 million turkeys annually. Minnesota has the most family-owned turkey farms of any state in the U.S. and many of these turkey producers are 3rd, 4th and 5th generation farmers.

For more information, visit www.minnesotaturkey.com or www.facebook.com/MinnesotaTurkey.  You can also find Minnesota Turkey on Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey) and Pinterest (www.pinterest.com/MinnesotaTurkey).

– 30 –

,

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.

,

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)

###

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!