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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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Outgoing MTGA Board Directors Honored for Service, Dedication to Turkey Industry

News Release

For immediate release

Contact:  Lara Durben

Phone:     (763) 682-2171

E-mail:      ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

(Buffalo, MN)… Turkey farmers Duane Jaenicke, Roseau, Minn., Kent Meschke, Little Falls, Minn., and Phil Munson, Cokato, 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 19 in Saint Paul, Minn.

Jaenicke and Meschke both served three, three-year terms on the MTGA and MTRPC Board and are past presidents of these two organizations. Munson served one term on the MTGA and MTRPC Boards.

“On behalf of MTGA, I thank these three directors for their dedication and leadership to our organization,” said 2014 MTGA President John Zimmerman. “All have made significant contributions to our organization and Minnesota’s turkey industry and their commitment to both MTGA and to our industry has been invaluable.”

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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)

MTGA Honors Provider Pals Volunteers

News Release

For immediate release

Contact:  Lara Durben

Phone: (763) 682-2171

E-mail: lara@minnesotaturkey.com

  

(Buffalo, MN )  … The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) has honored Duane Jaenicke, Roseau, Minn., Paul and Jamie Kvistad, Wood Lake, Minn., and Michael Langmo, Eden Valley, Minn., for their extraordinary volunteer efforts as part of the Provider Pals program.

These individuals received the President’s Award from outgoing President John Zimmerman, Northfield, Minn. The MTGA President’s Award is given annually to individual(s) chosen specifically for their dedication and commitment to the goals of the organization.

Last year, the Minnesota Turkey Research & Promotion Council (MTRPC) became a sponsor of the Provider Pals program and these turkey farmers volunteered to be “adopted” by classrooms across Minnesota. Duane Jaenicke was adopted by a 4th grade class at Centennial Lakes in the St. Paul suburb of Lino Lakes.  Mike Langmo was adopted by a 5th grade class in Worthington, and  Paul and Jaimie Kvistad were adopted by Lucy Laney school in north Minneapolis.

Provider Pals seeks to build a common-ground bridge of understanding and respect between urban youth, rural youth, and their natural resource providers. Being adopted meant the volunteers were sharing information not only about their farm but also about their family, hobbies and other interests. The students submitted questions to the volunteers and communication happened between the students and the farmers during the school year. The program culminated with the farmers visiting their schools and presenting about their farm.

Said Zimmerman: “I consider one of the most important goals of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association is to educate the public by telling our story of how and why we raise turkeys. Provider Pals enables us to connect with the next generation of policymakers and consumers.  With that in mind, I am happy to recognize Duane, Mike, Paul and Jaimie for stepping up by presenting them with the President’s Award.”

The official award presentation took place at the MTGA’s annual meeting in Saint Paul, Minn. on March 19.

For more information on the MTGA or its President’s Award program, please contact the MTGA at (763) 682-2171 or visit www.Minnesotaturkey.com. For more information on Provider Pals, visit www.providerpals.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 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)

 

MTGA Announces Ranelius Scholarship Recipients

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) announced five 2014 Ranelius Scholarship awards for $1,000 each to worthy students at its annual meeting on March 19 in Saint Paul, Minn.

This is a competitive award given to a current student(s) with an interest in poultry and agriculture. The recipients are as follows:

Robert Orsten, Jr. Willmar MN

  • Robert is the son of MTGA board member Robert Orsten.
  • He will graduate from high school this spring
  • Robert will enroll at Bethel University and plans to return to the family farm

Alaine Buysse, Ghent, MN

  • Alaine is a senior at Minneota High School
  • She has been active in working with poultry on their farm
  • Alaine plans to attend South Dakota State University this fall majoring in Animal Science with plans to continue onto vet school.

Michaela Olson, Janesville, MN

  • Michaela grew up on a small hobby farm which included laying hens, broilers, turkeys, ducks, and guinea fowl.
  • She is a Freshman at the University of Minnesota majoring in Animal Science-Pre – Vet and is active in the Gopher Poultry Science Club, Block and Bridle, Pre-Vet Club, and St. Paul’s Catholic Outreach.

Eleni  Solberg, Stewartville, MN

  • Eleni is a senior at Stewartville High School
  • She is involved in FFA and 4-H and served as MN’s Poultry Princess making appearances throughout the state
  • Eleni plans to attend the University of Arkansas to study poultry science, intern with a poultry company and then get a job back in Minnesota

Lisa Busack, Belview, MN

  • Lisa is a junior at the University of Minnesota
  • She currently serves as the National Vice President of the Postsecondary Agricultural Student Organization
  • She plans to teach agriculture at the high school or community college level

“On behalf of MTGA, I congratulate all these young people and wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors, as they work toward their specific career goals in agriculture,” said MTGA Executive Director Steve Olson.

For more information on the MTGA or its Ranelius Scholarship program, please visit www.minnesotaturkey.com.

 

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About MTGA

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)

MN Turkey Growers Association Offers Scholarship Program

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

(Buffalo, MN) … The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association is pleased to announce its 2014 Ranelius Scholarship Program, designed to encourage students enrolled in a post-secondary educational institution in Minnesota to prepare for a career in some phase of the turkey industry.

A total of $5,000 is available for scholarship awards. (Actual scholarship amount given out to worthy recipient(s) will be designated by MTGA Board of Directors, based on eligibility and criteria listed below.)

Eligibility:  The MTGA scholarship recipient(s) must be a citizen of the state of Minnesota and either be enrolled or plan to be enrolled in a post high school educational program that will prepare them for employment in some phase of the poultry industry.  While there are no restrictions on the major or program selected, it must provide suitable training for the applicant’s stated career goals.  Preference will be given to applicants who have not previously received an MTGA scholarship, and who are either members of the MTGA, or who are family members or employees of members of the MTGA.

Judging Criteria: The selection of the scholarship recipient will be made by an MTGA Board of Directors and based on the applications received.  The committee may withhold the scholarship award if there are insufficient worthy applicants.  An applicant’s scholastic record is a major factor.  Experience, activities and honors received will be considered.  The applicant’s demonstrated interest in the poultry industry, as reflected by past activities and a statement of career plans are also important considerations.

Application:  The application consists of a 3-page listing of requested information (format provided by the MTGA); a 1-page written statement from the applicant; and one letter of recommendation.

Recipients may be asked to participate as a Minnesota Turkey ambassador at public events during the year. Scheduling will be mutually agreed upon and all expenses will be reimbursed.

Deadline:  The deadline for receiving entries is February 15, 2014.  Mail or email entries to:  Minnesota Turkey Growers Association, Scholarship Selection Committee, 108 Marty Drive, Buffalo, MN  55313; enelson@minnesotaturkey.com.

For additional info or an application:  Visit www.minnesotaturkey.com/students-teachers or contact the MTGA at 108 Marty Drive, Buffalo, MN  55313; phone, 763/682-2171; fax, 763/682-5546;   enelson@minnesotaturkey.com.

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About MTGA

MTGA, founded in 1939 and headquartered 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.

Governor Dayton, Minnesota’s Turkey Farmers Usher in Thanksgiving

For immediate release

Contact:

Lara Durben, Communications Director

763/682-2171, cell 612/554-0920 or ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

 

MTGA Announces Donation of 10,000 Pounds of Turkey to Hunger Solutions Minnesota

 St. Paul, MN (November 25, 2013) – Governor Mark Dayton welcomed the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) and a 36-pound tom turkey to the State Capitol today. The event marks a time-honored tradition, going back more than two decades, of Minnesota’s Governor kicking off Thanksgiving week in Minnesota.

“Today we give thanks for our state’s strong agriculture industry and the abundance of food Minnesota farmers provide for the world – including the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving table, the turkey,” said MTGA President and turkey farmer John Zimmerman of Northfield, Minn.

At the event, Zimmerman announced the donation of approximately 10,000 pounds of turkey 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 Zimmerman. “Minnesota’s turkey farmers are committed to helping do their part to combat hunger with this annual donation to Hunger Solutions Minnesota.”

The turkey donated today will feed over 12,500 people.

Zimmerman raises 3-4 million pounds of turkey on his family farm, which means his farm alone feeds up to 3 million people each and every year. He also raises 500 acres of corn and soybeans.

Since 2001, MTGA has donated 200,000 pounds of turkey to various areas of the state – or enough turkey to feed over 250,000 people.  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.

According to HSM, In 2012, more than 8,500 people per day used Minnesota food shelves, an increase of 59% since the recession began in 2007.   Families with children account for more than 1.2 million Minnesota food shelf visits, and nearly 20,000 more children used food shelves in 2012 than in 2011.

Said Colleen Moriarty, HSM Executive Director: “Despite improvements in the economy, many Minnesota households still struggle to put food on the table.  Our food shelves really appreciate this donation of quality protein.  Families that visit the food shelves during the holidays will benefit greatly.  We continue to look for creative solutions so that no one in Minnesota has to skip meals or eat food that is low in quality. We greatly appreciate the many ways the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association supports our work.”

Approximately 250 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.

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.

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.

The tom turkey that participated in the Governor’s ceremony is one of the birds in a Presidential flock raised by John Burkel in Badger, MN. Burkel, the 2013 National Turkey Federation Chairman, is bringing two other birds in this special flock to Washington DC for the National Thanksgiving Turkey pardoning ceremony on Wednesday, November 27.

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About MTGA

The MTGA, founded in 1939 and currently 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

 

Presidential Turkey Program to be Presented at Various Twin Cities Schools

Media Opportunity

For immediate release

 

Contact:

Lara Durben, Minnesota Turkey Growers Association

Ph: 763/682-2171  |  Cell: 612/554-0920

Email: ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

 

Presidential Turkey Program to be Presented at Various Twin Cities Schools

Includes Visit from a Live Turkey – a Brother of the National Thanksgiving Turkey

What:

Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) will be presenting a program on the “National Thanksgiving Turkey” to classes at the schools listed below. This includes bringing a live turkey from the Presidential turkey flock, currently being raised in Badger, MN. (Note: the live bird will be a brother of the turkey going to Washington DC.)

While at the White House ceremony, Minnesota turkey farmer John Burkel will present President Obama and his family with the 2013 National Thanksgiving Turkey on November 27 (time TBA).  Burkel has received this honor as he is currently serving as the 2013 Chairman of the National Turkey Federation.

Visit www.minnesotaturkey.com/presidentialturkey for details on the Presidential turkey flock and follow the Burkel family’s journey leading up to the ceremony.

Dates/Locations:

Monday, November 18th – Presentations at 9:35am, 10:20am, 12:45pm, & 1:30pm

  • School of Engineering and Art, 1751 Kelly Drive, Golden Valley, MN (Kindergarten & 1st grade)

Tuesday, November 19th – Presentations at 2:10pm & 3:10pm

  • Jefferson School, 1200 West 26th Street, Minneapolis, MN (5th grade)

Wednesday, November 20th – Presentations at 9:35am, 10:20am, & 1pm

  • Red Pine Elementary, 530 Red Pine Lane, Eagan, MN (4th grade)

Schedule of Events:

Each school presentation will last approximately 40 minutes, depending on the size of the group and the number of questions. The tentative schedule of events at each school visit will include:

  • Introduction / video (5 minutes)
  • Presentation on turkey farming (10 minutes)
  • Introduce the family who has raised the Presidential turkey via video (5 minutes)
  • Meet the live turkey/answer questions (20 minutes)

RSVP:

RSVP is requested so that we can provide your name to the school in advance. Please email or call Lara Durben, ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com or 763/682-2171.

About John Burkel

John Burkel is a fourth generation turkey farmer from Badger, MN, who raises turkey hens (female turkeys) for Northern Pride, Inc.  He and his wife Joni have five children: (Vanessa (Junior in college), Andrea (senior in high school), Alex (freshman in high school), Jack (5th grade) and Emily (kindergarten). He has served on the Northern Pride board of directors since 2000 and also served as a board member for the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association from 1999-2008, acting as president of that organization in 2004-2005.  Since 2007, John has been a member of the National Turkey Federation (NTF) Executive Committee and currently serves as the 2013 NTF Chairman, which gives him the opportunity to bring a turkey to the White House for the annual Thanksgiving pardoning ceremony.

About MTGA

MTGA is a nonprofit trade organization that began in 1939 with a mission to foster a successful turkey industry in Minnesota. The state ranks #1 for turkey production and processing in the U.S. with its 250 turkey farmers raising approximately 47 million turkeys annually. Minnesota has the most family-owned turkey farms of any state in the U.S. and many of these turkey farmers are 3rd, 4th and 5th generation farmers. For more information, visit www.minnesotaturkey.com or www.facebook.com/MinnesotaTurkey.

 

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Badger High School to Host Send-Off for Presidential Turkeys

Media Opportunity

For immediate release

 

Contact:

Lara Durben, Minnesota Turkey Growers Association

Ph: 763/682-2171  |  Cell: 612/554-0920

Email: ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

 

UPDATED: Badger High School to Host Send-Off for Presidential Turkeys 

What:

The Presidential turkeys and the Badger, MN farm family that is raising them will be the very special guests at a “send-off” at Badger High School in northwestern Minnesota.

Minnesota turkey farmer John Burkel and his family will present President Obama with the 2013 National Thanksgiving Turkey on November 27 (time TBA).  Burkel has received this honor as he is currently serving as the 2013 Chairman of the National Turkey Federation.

In addition to the Burkel family, the entire senior class of Badger High School will make the trip to Washington DC.

The two turkeys – the National Thanksgiving Turkey and his alternate – will leave Badger, MN over the weekend and are scheduled to arrive in Washington DC on Monday, November 25.

NEW – included on the send-off program in Badger, Minn., will be Senator Al Franken.

Visit www.minnesotaturkey.com/presidentialturkey for details on the Presidential turkey flock and follow the Burkel family’s journey leading up to the ceremony.

Send-Off Date/Time

Friday, November 22, 2013 at Badger High School (gymnasium)

The send-off will run approximately 2:20 p.m.-3:00 p.m.

Schedule of Events:

Program will include:

  • Welcome by Badger Schools Superintendent Tom Jerome
  • Turkey industry introduction by Minnesota Turkey Growers Association Executive Director Steve Olson
  • JUST CONFIRMED – Comments from Senator Al Franken
  • Turkey game show (with 5 contestants, hand-picked from the Badger community)
  • Videos shown on the Burkel family and the Presidential flock
  • Introduction of the National Thanksgiving Turkey

RSVP:

If possible, RSVP is requested so that we can provide your name to the school in advance. Please email or call Lara Durben, ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com or 763/682-2171.

About John Burkel

John Burkel is a fourth generation turkey farmer from Badger, MN, who raises turkey hens (female turkeys) for Northern Pride, Inc.  He and his wife Joni have five children: Vanessa (sophomore in college), Andrea (senior in high school), Alex (sophomore in high school), Jack (5th grade) and Emily (kindergarten). He has served on the Northern Pride board of directors since 2000 and also served as a board member for the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association from 1999-2008, acting as president of that organization in 2004-2005.  Since 2007, John has been a member of the National Turkey Federation (NTF) Executive Committee and currently serves as the 2013 NTF Chairman, which gives him the opportunity to bring a turkey to the White House for the annual Thanksgiving pardoning ceremony.

About MTGA

MTGA is a nonprofit trade organization that began in 1939 with a mission to foster a successful turkey industry in Minnesota. The state ranks #1 for turkey production and processing in the U.S. with its 250 turkey farmers raising approximately 47 million turkeys annually. Minnesota has the most family-owned turkey farms of any state in the U.S. and many of these turkey farmers are 3rd, 4th and 5th generation farmers. For more information, visit www.minnesotaturkey.com or www.facebook.com/MinnesotaTurkey.

 

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Badger, MN Turkey Farmer to Bring Turkeys to Washington DC for Presidential Pardon

Contact: Lara Durben, Minnesota Turkey Growers Association

763.682.2171 or ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Badger, Minnesota Turkey Farmer to present the

National Thanksgiving Turkey to President Obama and family

(Buffalo, MN – November 2013) – John Burkel, a turkey farmer from Badger, Minn., will present this year’s National Thanksgiving Turkey to President Obama and his family on Wednesday, November 27.  Burkel has received this honor because he is the 2013 Chairman of the National Turkey Federation.

2013 marks the 66th anniversary of the National Thanksgiving Turkey tradition at the White House, a highly anticipated ritual, signaling the unofficial beginning of the holiday season and providing the President an opportunity to reflect publicly on the meaning of Thanksgiving. The ceremony itself, dating back to President Harry S. Truman, didn’t become an actual turkey pardoning until President George H.W. Bush declared it so in 1989.

The 2013 National Thanksgiving Turkey flock was hatched July 8. Initially, Burkel pulled about 80 toms (male turkeys) from the flock aside. This group was eventually whittled down to six toms with potential “star quality”, which were moved to a special shed on his farm. One of those toms will ultimately be selected as the National Thanksgiving Turkey, and one will be selected as his alternate.

Burkel is raising the National Thanksgiving turkey flock using normal feeding and other production techniques. The one exception is that the birds are provided increased interaction with people, light, and noise so that they will be prepared for the White House Ceremony.

The entire Burkel family – John, wife Joni, and their five children – will make the trip to Washington DC. In addition, the Badger High School senior class (which includes Burkel’s daughter, Andrea) will also travel to our nation’s Capitol for the festivities.

Burkel is the 12th Minnesotan to have the honor of presenting the National Thanksgiving Turkey to a U.S. President.

MTGA is hosting and maintaining a special section on its website for the project at www.minnesotaturkey.com/presidentialturkey. The website includes pictures, video and a weekly blog written by the Burkel Family chronicling the care, management, and extra visitors the special flock has had. The site also features fun turkey puzzles, mazes and color sheets for kids as well as information for parents on nutrition, food safety and plenty of family-friendly turkey recipes.

MTGA also ran a naming contest for the two turkeys on its website, which culminated in the following top 3 most popular names being sent on to the White House for consideration:

1)      Viking & Gunnar

2)      Gobblynob & Butterfluff

3)      Ole & Sven

The White House makes the ultimate decision on what the two turkeys will be named.

MTGA is visiting four different schools in the metro area with a brother of the prestigious turkey that will be spending Thanksgiving at the White House.  “We’re excited to be able bring turkeys into the classroom because it’s really the best way for kids to learn more about where their food comes from and the important work that all farmers do to provide safe, nutritious and affordable food to the world,” said Steve Olson, executive director of MTGA.

In addition to the website, MTGA uses Facebook (www.facebook.com/MinnesotaTurkey) and Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey) to help publicize additional details of the National Thanksgiving Turkey.

For more information, please visit www.minnesotaturkey.com/presidentialturkey.

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About John Burkel:

John Burkel is a fourth generation turkey farmer from Badger, MN and he raises approximately 70,000 turkey hens annually for the whole bird market for Northern Pride, Inc., a grower-owned turkey processing facility located in Thief River Falls, MN.  The cooperative was formed in 1989 by independent turkey growers throughout Northern Minnesota and North Dakota.

John has served on the Northern Pride board of directors since 2000 and also served as a board member for the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association from 1999-2008, acting as president of that organization in 2004-2005.

Since 2007, John has been a member of the National Turkey Federation (NTF) Executive Committee and currently serves as the 2013 NTF Chairman. He has also served as chairman of NTF’s Live Production Committee and TURPAC, NTF’s political action committee.

He and his wife Joni have five children – Vanessa (sophomore in college), Andrea (senior in high school), Alex (sophomore in high school), Jack (5th grade) and Emily (kindergarten).

About MTGA

MTGA is a nonprofit trade organization based in Buffalo, Minn., that began in 1939 with a mission to foster a successful turkey industry in Minnesota. The state ranks #1 for turkey production and processing in the U.S. with its 250 turkey farmers raising approximately 47 million turkeys annually. Minnesota has the most family-owned turkey farms of any state in the U.S. and many of these turkey farmers are 3rd, 4th and 5th generation farmers. For more information, visit www.minnesotaturkey.com or www.facebook.com/MinnesotaTurkey.

Fun Facts about Minnesota Turkey & Turkey To Go Concession

For immediate release

Contact:   Lara Durben, Minnesota Turkey Growers Association

Ph: 763/682-2171 (office),  612/554-0920 (mobile), ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

  • Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) has been serving up turkey at the Minnesota State Fair for 55 years (since 1958).  Our State Fair concession stand, Turkey To Go, is known for its signature Giant Juicy Turkey Sandwich and Slow-Roasted Turkey Drumsticks.
  • Turkey To Go was named the People’s Choice Award for “Best Food or Beverage” at the 2012 Minnesota State Fair!
  • We expect to cook approximately 20,000 pounds of turkey at Turkey To Go this year for our Giant Juicy Turkey sandwiches.
  • Turkey To Go has multiple locations around the Twin Cities for year-round customers. Up-to-date location information on a daily basis can be found at www.twitter.com/turkeytogo or visit www.turkeytogo.com for details.
    • Mobile food cart in downtown Minneapolis – On most weekdays during lunch, Turkey To Go’s Mobile food cart is located at South 8th Street and Nicollet Mall. During Minnesota Twins home games, the cart is set up at South 6th Street and Hennepin Avenue.
    • Target Field – Turkey To Go is behind home plate between sections 112 and 113 as well as outside Section 318.
    • Food court (indoor) location with an expanded menu in downtown Minneapolis in the Baker Building (skyway level), 706 Second Avenue South
    • Food court (indoor) location with an expanded menu in Downtown St. Paul in the Alliance Bank Building (skyway level), 56 East Sixth Street
  • Turkeys are raised in U.S. are free of added hormones and steroids.  In fact, there are no hormones or steroids approved for use in turkey production in the U.S.
  • Nutritionally, turkey has more protein than chicken or beef – plus fewer calories with zero trans- and saturated fat. Our Giant Juicy Turkey Sandwich (eaten without the bun) and Jumbo Turkey Drumstick are gluten-free.
  • Minnesota is ranked #1 for turkey production, processing, and hatching in the U.S. and is home to 250 turkey farmers who raise approximately 47 million turkeys annually on 600 farms.  ]
  • Minnesota has the most family-owned turkey farms of any state in the U.S. and many of our turkey producers are 3rd, 4th and 5th generation farmers.
  • Formed in 1939, Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA), is a nonprofit trade association dedicated to fostering a successful turkey industry. Today MTGA and its sister organization, Minnesota Turkey Research Promotion Council, work on behalf of Minnesota’s turkey industry in the areas of research, promotion, public relations, issues management, education and government affairs.
  • MTGA’s Web site – www.minnesotaturkey.com – features links to more than 1,700 turkey recipes for consumers and the foodservice industry. We also have recipes at our State Fair booth in the Dairy Building.
  • Producing a quality, nutritious and safe product is the top priority for turkey farmers as well as turkey processing companies, which follow USDA guideliness for food safety. Consumers, too, need to do their part to ensure that turkey is handled properly in the kitchen and cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F., as measured by a food thermometer.
  • And just for fun … MTGA’s partners who help us run Turkey To Go — The Turkey Guys —  are also the stars of a new HGTV show called “Renovate to Rent!”