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Individuals Honored for Extraordinary Efforts Before, During, and After the Avian Influenza Crisis of 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

Presidents Award - Veterinarians

L to R: Dr. Jill Nezworski, Dr. Ben Wileman, MTRPC President Robert Orsten, and Dr. Michelle Kromm

(Buffalo, MN )  … The Presidents of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) and Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council (MTRPC) have chosen to honor five worthy individuals for their extraordinary efforts before, during, and after the highly pathogenic avian influenza crisis of 2015.

MTRPC President Robert Orsten of Wilmar, Minn., presented his 2016 President’s Award to three veterinarians who were instrumental in helping Minnesota’s turkey industry respond to each and every challenge the HPAI outbreak threw at them:  Dr. Michelle Kromm, Jennie-O Turkey Store; Dr. Jill Nezworski, Blue House Veterinary; and Dr. Ben Wileman, Willmar Poultry Company.

“These individuals lived the HPAI outbreak on a broader and deeper scale than probably anyone else,” said Orsten. “These three were charged with preventing infections, and if a farm became infected they were crucial in the response. They were experts in bird health going in to the outbreak, and now they are experts in emergency response to a catastrophic disease event. They led the creation of industry-driven prevention and control plans, and their input helped improve response for Minnesota’s poultry farmers and to future HPAI introductions.”

MTGA President Gene Brownfield of Redwood Falls, Minn., chose Dr. David Halvorson, a Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota, as his President’s Award recipient. Dr. Halvorson has been a leader in initiating and implementing what’s called the “Secure Poultry Supply Plan.”

Presidents Award - Steve Olson

MTRPC President Robert Orsten, MTGA President Gene Brownfield, and MTGA/MTRPC Executive Director Steve Olson

Said Brownfield: “This plan establishes science-based testing protocols to enable poultry and poultry products from non-infected farms within a disease control zone to move to market or the next production phase. Basically, this means these businesses are able to continue their operations with minimal disruption.”

Without such protocols in place, healthy birds and safe products would need to be destroyed at a cost of millions of dollars to taxpayers and to those farms/processors. “Dr. Halvorson led the charge in this important endeavor and is well-deserved of this award,” said Brownfield.

Both President Orsten and Brownfield teamed up, as well, to give a joint President’s Award to MTGA and MTRPC Executive Director Steve Olson. Olson led the HPAI response efforts from the organizational standpoint, assisting in bringing together the government agencies involved and Minnesota’s turkey industry. He also was the “face of the industry” as he willingly participated in hundreds of media interviews with reporters from around the world.

“Our organizations are extremely grateful for Olson’s leadership during this extremely challenging time,” said Orsten.

Brownfield concurred: “His efforts helped shape the overall response and his knowledge of crisis communications was instrumental in making sure the correct messages about this outbreak were conveyed to the public.”

The MTGA and MTRPC President’s Awards are given annually to individual(s) chosen specifically for their dedication and commitment to the goals of the organization.

The official award presentation took place at the MTGA’s annual meeting in Saint Paul, Minn. on March 16.

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.

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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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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).

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MN Turkey Council Board Election Results Announced

News Release

For immediate release

Contact:  Lara Durben

Phone:    (763) 682-2171

E-mail:     ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

 

Directors Hail from Princeton, Redwood Falls, Rothsay, Willmar and Wood Lake

(Buffalo, MN)…Five people have been elected to the 16-member Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council (MTRPC) Board of Directors according to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), the agency responsible for conducting and certifying agricultural promotion council elections. The election was conducted by mail-in ballot in January.

The newly elected directors are:

Region 1

Scott Heymer, Princeton

Region 2

Paul Kvistad, Wood Lake

At-Large Positions

Gene Brownfield, Redwood Falls

Robert Orsten, Willmar

Max Velo, Rothsay

Incumbents elected to their third terms on the Board include Gene Brownfield and Robert Orsten; new Directors are Scott Heymer, Paul Kvistad and Max Velo.

All five elected Board members will serve three-year terms and all assumed their seats on March 1.  These directors will also serve on the Board of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA).

The board meets approximately six times per year to guide MTRPC’s activities. Board members also serve as advocates for Minnesota’s turkey industry. Turkey farmers pay a percentage of their sale proceeds to MTRPC, which uses those funds to pay for promotion, communication and research activities aimed at increasing producer profitability.

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

Gene Brownfield (Grower-At-Large)

Gene Brownfield currently produces hens on farms in Renville and Brown counties.

This is Gene’s third term on the MTGA and MTRPC Boards and he currently serves as Vice President. He also represents MTGA on the Minnesota Ag Water Resources Coalition (MAWRC).

Gene currently serves as an Elder at Cornerstone Christian Church and is a director in several local and state ministries. He also serves on several boards and volunteers in community activities. Gene and his wife Janette have two children, Dean, who runs the family farm, and Jayne who lives in Waconia. They also follow the activities of three active grandsons. Gene’s hobbies include fishing and relaxing at the lake cabin.

Paul Kvistad (Region 2)

Paul Kvistad, a second generation turkey farmer from Yellow Medicine County, owns and operates Paul Kvistad Poultry, which produces 200,000 light hens per year.  This is Paul’s first term on the MTGA and MTRPC Boards.

Currently Paul is serving on the Education/Workforce Committee for MTGA and has been on the board of the Yellow Medicine County Corn Growers for 15 years.  He served as a past member/president for the Echo Lions Club for 12 years and a past board member for the Farmers Co-op Elevator for 9 years.  In addition, he continues to usher at Swan Lake Church.

Paul and his wife Jamie have three sons:  Hunter, Payton and Brock.  In his spare time, he enjoys watching their sons’ sporting events, fishing and spending time at their lake home.

 

Scott Heymer (Region 1)

Scott Heymer, the owner of Red Bridge Farms, Inc. in Princeton, has been involved in the turkey industry for 38 years. Annually he raises 150,000 heavy toms and this is Scott’s first term on the MTGA and MTRPC Boards.

Scott and his wife Lennea have been married for 30 years and have two children:  Becky and Brian.  Brian has joined them in working on the farm.  Scott enjoys camping, kayaking, ice fishing and deer hunting.

Robert Orsten (Breeder-At-Large)

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

Robert served on the school board for Community Christian School eight years; four years as secretary and four years as president. He is currently a township supervisor, elected in 2008.

He and his wife, Rochelle, have five children: Talia, Autumn, RJ, Brady and James. His hobbies include boating, camping, spending time with family and friends, raising Hereford cattle and his kids’ sporting events.

Max Velo (Grower At Large)

Max has been actively involved in the turkey industry for 10 years.  With a farm in Ottertail County, he raises 400,000 hens per year.  This is Max’s first term on the MTGA and MTRPC Boards.

Max’s family consists of Piper, Daryl, Kelsey, Alanna and Nita. In his spare time he enjoys music and reading books.

About MTGA

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

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A Look Inside a Turkey Barn

Presidential Turkey Flock 2013 | via www.minnesotaturkey.com/presidentialturkey

We’ve got new video from the Burkel family – specifically Alex, Jack and Emily – who took a video camera into one of their large turkey barns and provided a little tour and some information about what turkeys drink and eat.

The barn featured in the video is housing about 4,000 turkeys right now – you can see that they aren’t raised in cages (which is sometimes a common misperception) and they have plenty of space to move around.

Turkeys are housed in modern barns like these because it protects them from the weather elements – whether it’s really hot in the summer or below zero in the winter – and it keeps predators away, as well.

The turkeys’  barn is much like our own houses – it provides heating, cooling and a clean, safe environment in which to live.

As Alex explains in the video, the family chose about 80 birds out of this larger flock to raise as the “Presidential flock.”  Once those birds grew bigger, the Presidential flock was narrowed down to about 20 hopefuls, which in turn, was reduced to less than 10 who have “made the cut.”  Time will tell which two birds are the most well-behaved to make the trip to Washington DC!

Check out the video and let us know if you learned anything new about turkeys!

MN Turkey Council Board Election Results Announced

For immediate release

Contact:  Lara Durben

Phone:    (763) 682-2171

E-mail:     lara@minnesotaturkey.com

 

MN Turkey Council Board Election Results Announced

Directors Hail from Viking, Morristown, Melrose, Litchfield and Kensington

(Buffalo, MN)…Five people have been elected to the 16-member Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council (MTRPC) Board of Directors according to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), the agency responsible for conducting and certifying agricultural promotion council elections. The election was conducted by mail-in ballot in January.

The newly elected directors are:

Region 1

John Umber, Viking

Region 2

Kim Halvorson, Morristown

Grower-At-Large

Leon Klaphake, Melrose

Michael Langmo, LItchfield

Breeder-At-Large

Dana Nelson, Kensington

Incumbents elected to their second terms on the Board include John Umber and Michael Langmo; new Directors are Kim Halvorson, Leon Klaphake and Michael Langmo.

All five elected Board members will serve three-year terms and all assumed their seats on March 1.  These directors will also serve on the Board of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA).

The board meets about eight times per year to guide MTRPC’s activities. Board members also serve as advocates for Minnesota’s turkey industry. Turkey producers pay a percentage of their sale proceeds to MTRPC, which uses those funds to pay for promotion, communication and research activities aimed at increasing producer profitability.

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

John Umber – Region 1 candidate

John Umber has been in the turkey industry for 26 years, currently raising 160,000 hens for Umber Turkeys Inc. in Viking, MN. This will be John’s 2nd term on the MTGA/MTRPC Board of Directors.

John has volunteered with Minnesota Extension, been a member of a five-county feedlot committee, and is also a member of the Marshall County Feedlot Planning Committee.

He and his wife, Gloria, have three children: Steven, Amanda and Desiree. John’s hobbies include moto-cross, fishing, paintball and hunting.

Kim Halvorson – Region 2 candidate

Kim Halvorson of Morristown, MN owns and operates Halvorson Farms with her husband, Dennis. She has been a turkey farmer for 23 years and raises approximately 100,000 heavy toms/year (about 3.2 million pounds/year) annually in Rice County.

This is Kim’s 1st term on the MTGA/MTRPC Board of Directors.

Kim is currently a member of the Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce; is a minority liaison with Farm Service Agency; is the current vice-chair of the Rice County District One Hospital Board of Directors. She also served on the Rice county Board of Adjustment from 2006-2011; the Rice County Planning and Zoning Commission from 2002-2011 (serving as past chairwoman); and is a founding member and past chairwoman of the Rice County Childcare Association from 1995-2002.

Kim has conducted many media interviews about the turkey industry and was also featured on a DVD compiled by the Minnesota Farm and Food Coalition about livestock production in Minnesota. She is seeking her first term on the MTGA and MTRPC Board of Directors.

She and Dennis have three daughters – Breann, Benita and Greta – and a son, Bernt. Their daughters are out of college and Bernt will be transfering to the University of Minnesota beginning January 2012.

Leon Klaphake – Grower-At-Large candidate

Leon Klaphake of Klaphake Feed Mill, Inc. in Melrose, MN has logged 31 years in the turkey industry. He and his family raise approximately 1.8 million hens annually in Stearns, Douglas and Todd counties. This is Leon’s 1st term on the MTGA/MTRPC Board of Directors.

He sits on the finance committee for St. Mary’s Parish and is also a member of Stearns County Pheasants Forever. Issues of particular importance to Leon include animal welfare, keeping young people involved and educated about the industry, and ethanol.

He and his wife, Mary, have two children – Ashley (a senior at St. Cloud State University) and Chris (a sophomore at St. Cloud State University).  Leon’s hobbies include golfing, hunting, fishing and spending time with family and friends.

Michael Langmo – Grower-At-Large candidate

Michael Langmo has spent 31 years in the turkey industry, currently raising approximately 190,000 turkeys annually in Eden Valley, MN – mostly light hens with a couple of heavy hen/consumer tom flocks. This is Michael’s 2nd term on the MTGA/MTRPC Board of Directors.

For the past 14 years, Michael has been chairman of the worship and music committee of his church, where he and his wife are also actively involved in the church choir, handbell choir and men’s quartet.

Michael holds a B.S. degree from the University of Minnesota in agriculture education. He and his wife, Debbie, have been marred 27 years and their son, David, is married with two children. Michael and Debbie enjoy camping and spending time with the grandchildren as well as their two Labrador retrievers. Michael also enjoys woodworking/building furniture.

Dana Nelson

Dana Nelson of Oakdale Farm in Kensington raises breeder hens in Douglas County and is a fourth generation turkey farmer. His great grandmother started raising turkeys at the turn of the centure and then his grandfather expanded the operation.

This is Dana’s 1st term on the MTGA/MTRPC Board of Directors and he will represent turkey breeders from across Minnesota. Dana is also involved in the church council for Messiah Lutheran Church and has been an adult leader of the Runestone 4-H Club for six years.

Dana and his wife, Deb, have three daughters: Erica, Jenna and Lauren. When he’s not raising turkeys, Dana enjoys gardening and antique tractors.

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 2011. 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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