Posts

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Episode #9 – Scoop on Poop!

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

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

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Episode #8 – Understanding A Greater Minnesota

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

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

2018 Summer Conference | Learning at Leech Lake

The 79th Annual MTGA Summer Conference took place June 20-22, 2018 in Walker, Minn. at Chase on the Lake Resort. Approximately 120 people attended; taking part in educational sessions, the 5th Annual Turkey Taste Off, fun afternoon activities, the Pub Crawl and of course, socializing with one another.

This year’s educational sessions included an energy panel, implications of tax law changes and an HPAI updates from Dr. Carol Cardona (UMN). Please view the education session videos here. (Log-in and go to “Summer Conference.” Note – this link is for MTGA members only – username/password required.)

Wednesday afternoon started with educational sessions followed by the ever popular, 5th annual Turkey Taste-off! Eight recipes were featured with Turkey Cashew Pasta Salad (recipe submitted by Linda Hedlund) and the Turkey BLT Salad (recipe submitted by Lynn Meschke) taking top honors. Here’s a link to the recipes: http://minnesotaturkey.com/recipes-tips/recipes/.

After the taste-off, members were thoroughly entertained by a hypnotist and the evening concluded with s’mores and a bonfire on the beach.

Thursday morning started early with educational sessions and a choice of the Lake Itasca Boat Cruise, trap shooting or a corn hole tournament for afternoon activities. The reception and banquet were held in the evening where winners of the trap shoot were announced.

1st- Brian McComb

2nd- Brad Rortvedt

3rd- Nick Alt

Tom Bruins was honored with the Allied Lifetime Achievement award.

Be sure to check out the MTGA Angels video brought to you by the MTGA Staffers:

The TURPAC Pub Crawl wrapped up the evening and was well-attended. MTGA members raised $2,600 for TURPAC!

MTGA Lobbyist, Bruce Kleven, and NTF Vice President of Government Affairs, Damon Wells, wrapped up the conference Friday morning with a government affairs update. Thank you to everyone who attended this year’s conference and also to our many sponsors. The weather was fantastic and the company even better!

The 2019 MTGA Summer Conference will be held June 26-28 at Madden’s on Gull Lake, Brainerd, MN. We will celebrate MTGA’s 80th anniversary so mark your calendars now and plan to attend!

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Minnesota Turkey Launches 3rd “Day in the Life of a Turkey Farmer” Video

Video focuses on Where the Turkey Life Cycle Begins – On a Breeder Farm

(BUFFALO, MN) – Minnesota turkey grower Loren Brey of Brey Farms was recently featured in “A Day in the Life of a Turkey Farmer” video. This video is part of a series of videos created and published by the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) as an effort to promote and educate consumers about the turkey industry. These videos provide an insightful view into the life of a turkey farmer – the challenges and joys of raising turkeys in Minnesota.

Said Steve Olson, MTGA Executive Director: “Transparency is important to many consumers – they want to know where their food comes from, how it’s grown and how it’s processed. Tours of poultry farms are limited due to biosecurity practices that are implemented to protect flock health. To get around this obstacle, the MTGA has put out these videos on their website to provide the public the opportunity to look inside a turkey barn.”

Brey is one of the 450 turkey farmers in the state of Minnesota, and he was thrilled to be able to share his family’s turkey farm on the video. “This is my 30th year in the turkey business. I started picking eggs from the previous owner…and then eventually purchased the farm. It was an honor for me to share my family’s story and life on our farm in this video,” said Brey.

Minnesota ranks number one in turkey production in the United States, producing around 46 million turkeys per year. Turkey farms like Brey’s are where the turkey life cycle begins.

Even though all farms may look different from each other, all farmers pay close attention to bird health. In the video, Brey explains the different practices on his farm to maintain bird health – from biosecurity, barn temperature, ventilation, nutrition, and much more. Farmers go to great measures to ensure good health and well-being of their birds to produce a safe product for consumers.

“As you enjoy your Thanksgiving meal this year, be sure to remember that it may be a Minnesota turkey farmer that helped get the turkey to your table!” said Olson.

Brey’s video can be viewed on MinnesotaTurkey.com or YouTube.
Learn more about Minnesota turkey farm families at MinnesotaTurkey.com.

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 an estimated 46 million turkeys in 2017. 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).

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Turkeys from National Thanksgiving Flock to Visit Twin Cities Schools

MEDIA ADVISORY
FOR NOVEMBER 14, 2017

Contacts:
Nicole Krumrie, 763-682-2171 or nkrumrie@minnesotaturkey.com
Lara Durben, 612-554-0920 or ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

Twin Cities Students “Flock” to See Turkeys from the National Thanksgiving Flock

What: National Thanksgiving Turkey Flock Members Visit Twin Cities Students

When: November 14, 2018

Where:
• Kaposia Education Center
o 1225 1st Ave S, South St. Paul, MN 55075
o 9am-10am
o Presenting to five 4th grade classes (137 students)

• Cedar Riverside Community Schools
o 1610 S 6th St, Minneapolis, MN 55454
o 12pm-1pm
o Presenting to 4th and 5th grade classes (34 students)

Details:
• The Minnesota Turkey Growers will be bringing a turkey from the National Thanksgiving Flock to two schools in the Twin Cities to teach students about the tradition of the National Thanksgiving Turkey ceremony at the White House, help them learn more about Minnesota’s turkey farmers, and share with them what the Minnesota 4-H program is all about.
• Each year, two turkeys travel to Washington D.C. – one serves as the National Thanksgiving Turkey and the other as his Alternate. The turkey that will visit the schools is a brother to these two birds.
• The National Thanksgiving Turkey is part of a flock that is being raised in Alexandria, MN by the Carl and Sharlene Wittenburg. Carl is the current chairman of the National Turkey Federation and also a Minnesota Turkey Growers Association member.
• 2017 marks the 70th anniversary of the National Thanksgiving Turkey ceremony.

Interview/Photo/Video Opportunities:
• Steve Olson, Executive Director of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association
• 4-H members from the Alexandria, Minn., area who are assisting with the training the birds
• Kaposia and Cedar Riverside students

More Information about the National Thanksgiving Flock:
www.minnesotaturkey.com/presidentialturkey
Facebook  |  Instagram – @MinnesotaTurkey  | Snapchat – MinnesotaTurkey

RSVP your attendance to:
Nicole Krumrie, 763-682-2171 or nkrumrie@minnesotaturkey.com

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National Thanksgiving Turkey and Its Alternate Coming from Alexandria!

PRESS RELEASE

(Buffalo, MN) – November is always a busy month for Minnesota’s turkey farmers, which are ranked #1 for turkey production in the U.S. This year, however, will place an even bigger spotlight on Minnesota as the National Turkey Federation Chairman Carl Wittenburg and his wife, Sharlene, from Alexandria, Minn., have been officially invited to bring two turkeys to Washington DC for the annual National Thanksgiving Turkey event at the White House. Their special flock hatched in late June and now the Wittenburgs have about 20 turkeys vying for the privilege of traveling to Washington DC.

A video introducing the Wittenburgs and their family history in the turkey industry – both Carl and Sharlene grew up on turkey farms in Minnesota and North Dakota – can be viewed on YouTube: https://youtu.be/OPIBTL4-gys.

Today, the couple raises about 100,000 turkeys on their family farm in Wyndmere, North Dakota, while also running a business – Protein Alliance –  for brokering a variety of proteins (including turkey), living in Alexandria, and raising their three sons.

Partnering with Minnesota 4-H

An exciting component of this project is the fact that the Wittenburgs are working with five 4-H members from Douglas County. The high school students are visiting the flock regularly to help the birds get used to people coming and going, noises, music, and so forth. None of the 4-H members had experience working with turkeys before they met the Wittenburgs and participated in a special project for the Science of Agriculture program via Minnesota 4-H last spring. That project placed 2nd in state and now the 4-H members are utilizing their knowledge of turkeys to help get the birds ready for Washington DC.

“We’re so excited to provide such an amazing national platform to showcase Minnesota’s 4-H program, which is an excellent leadership program for kids of all ages” said Carl Wittenburg. “Douglas County is the birthplace of Minnesota 4-H so this was a natural fit for us.”

You can follow along with all the fun on MinnesotaTurkey.com’s website, which has a special National Thanksgiving Turkey section that includes photos, videos, activities for kids, and resources for parents/teachers. The following social media platforms will also be a great place to catch the latest photos and fun events:

Special Events

Coming November 16 is a special Facebook Live virtual tour (starting at 10 am CST) with the Presidential Flock, the Wittenburgs, and the 4-H members. Cosponsored by Minnesota Turkey and Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom, the event is open to anyone – just visit Facebook.com/minnesotaturkey for event details.

“The Facebook Live event will be the perfect opportunity for classrooms to participate and show students the National Thanksgiving Turkey Flock while they learn more about turkey farming in Minnesota. Plus there will be plenty of time ask questions during the event,” said Steve Olson, Executive Director, Minnesota Turkey Growers Association. “The event is open to anyone with an interest in turkey farming and the National Thanksgiving Turkey project – the more the merrier!”

One of the brothers of the National Thanksgiving Turkey flock will also be at the State Capitol on Friday, November 17 for Minnesota Turkey’s annual Thanksgiving presentation with Governor Mark Dayton.

Name Those Turkeys!

Everyone can also get involved in the Presidential Turkey Naming Contest on the website – visit between now and November 10 and submit your name suggestions for the two turkeys going to Washington DC. We will compile the most popular sets and give them to the White House for consideration.

The official hashtag for the National Thanksgiving Turkey project is #PresidentialTurkey.

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 an estimated 46 million turkeys in 2017. Minnesota has the most independent turkey farmers – from 1st to 6thgeneration farm families – of any state in the U.S. For further information, visithttp://www.minnesotaturkey.com/www.minnesotaturkey.com or find us on Facebook:www.facebook.com/MinnesotaTurkey, Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey), Pinterest (@MinnesotaTurkey), Snapchat (MinnesotaTurkey), and Instagram (@MinnesotaTurkey).

Follow the National Thanksgiving Turkey Flock!

National Thanksgiving Turkey and Its Alternate Coming from Alexandria!

National Thanksgiving Turkey flock via MinnesotaTurkey.com

November is always a busy month for Minnesota’s turkey farmers, which are ranked #1 for turkey production in the U.S. This year, however, will place an even bigger spotlight on Minnesota as the National Turkey Federation Chairman Carl Wittenburg and his wife, Sharlene, from Alexandria, Minn., have been officially invited to bring two turkeys to Washington DC for the annual National Thanksgiving Turkey event at the White House. Their special flock hatched in late June and now the Wittenburgs have about 20 turkeys vying for the privilege of traveling to Washington DC.

A video introducing the Wittenburgs and their family history in the turkey industry – both Carl and Sharlene grew up on turkey farms in Minnesota and North Dakota – can be viewed on YouTube:

Today, the couple raises about 100,000 turkeys on their family farm in Wyndmere, North Dakota, while also running a business – Protein Alliance –  for brokering a variety of proteins (including turkey), living in Alexandria, and raising their three sons.

The Wittenburgs are working with five 4-H members from Douglas County on this project. The high school students are visiting the flock regularly to help the birds get used to people coming and going, noises, music, and so forth.

“We’re so excited to provide such an amazing national platform to showcase Minnesota’s 4-H program,” said Carl Wittenburg. “Douglas County is the birthplace of Minnesota 4-H so this was a natural fit for us.”

You can follow along with all the fun on MinnesotaTurkey.com’s website, which has a special Presidential Turkey section that includes photos, videos, activities for kids, and resources for parents/teachers. The following social media platforms will also be a great place to catch the latest photos and fun events:

  • Facebook.com/minnesotaturkey and Facebook.com/presidentialturkey
  • Instagram – @MinnesotaTurkey and @PresidentialTurkey
  • Snaptchat – MinnesotaTurkey

Coming November 16 is a special Facebook Live virtual tour (starting at 10 am CST) with the Presidential Flock, the Wittenburgs, and the 4-H members. Cosponsored by Minnesota Turkey and Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom, the event is open to anyone – just visit Facebook.com/minnesotaturkey for event details.

“The Facebook Live event will be the perfect opportunity for classrooms to participate and show students the National Thanksgiving Turkey Flock while they learn more about turkey farming in Minnesota. Plus there will be plenty of time ask questions during the event,” said Steve Olson, Executive Director, Minnesota Turkey Growers Association. “The event is open to anyone with an interest in turkey farming and the National Thanksgiving Turkey project – the more the merrier!”

Everyone can also get involved in the Presidential Turkey Naming Contest on the website – visit between now and November 10 and submit your name suggestions for the two turkeys going to Washington DC. We will compile the most popular sets and give them to the White House for consideration.

The official hashtag for the National Thanksgiving Turkey project is #PresidentialTurkey.

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 an estimated 46 million turkeys in 2017. Minnesota has the most independent turkey farmers – from 1st to 6th generation farm families – 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, Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey), Pinterest (@MinnesotaTurkey), Snapchat (MinnesotaTurkey), and Instagram (@MinnesotaTurkey).

Meet the Wittenburgs!

Spotlight on the Turkey Farm Family!

Here’s an introduction to Carl and Sharlene Wittenburg and their family. The two are raising the Presidential flock and just received their official invitation to the White House to bring two birds for the annual National Thanksgiving Turkey ceremony.

Carl Wittenburg, 2017 National Turkey Federation Chairman, was born in Faribault, MN, and raised in Wyndmere, ND, on a turkey, cattle and grain farm, Carl had an early involvement in agriculture through his participation in 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA) in high school. In college, Carl co-owned, and operated a turkey farm in Rugby, ND which he would later sell in 2010.

Upon graduating from North Dakota State University, Carl went to work for Northern Pride Cooperative, a turkey processing facility, as production coordinator and by 1992, Carl was recruited as the USA Sales Manager for Hybrid Turkeys. Seven short years later Protein Alliance was formed with his business partner Jeff Stauffenecker and Carl serves as President of that company.

In 2010, Carl and Sharlene purchased the family turkey farm in Wyndmere, ND and are shareholder members of Northern Pride Cooperative. Sharlene manages the day-to-day operations of the turkey farm and the couple has made their home in Alexandria, MN for many years.

Carl has been very involved in the turkey industry as the North Dakota Poultry Industries chair and an elected member of the National Turkey Federation (NTF) executive committee since 2008 where he chairs the NTF’s Communications committee. Carl and his wife, Sharlene, are also long-time active members of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association.

Carl and Sharlene couple have three adult children – Nick, Nate, and Wyatt – and one grandchild.

 

 

The Penny

The Penny - How It Relates to Turkey Production | via MinnesotaTurkey.com #turkeyeveryday #agchat #MNAg #minnesotaturkey

Santa brought my daughter, Abby, the “Game of Life” board game this past Christmas and let’s just say we have played a few games the last few weeks. I remember playing the same game when I was growing up but the new version has definitely changed with the times. You can choose to go to the “Career Route” or “College Career Route”.  Pretty normal decision made by most graduating high schoolers. And just like in real life, the College Career Route takes half your money instantly but your income come payday is hopefully a little higher for the rest of the game.

There are other decisions you need to make on the way such as choosing to go to night school to change careers half-way though, or just continue on the life path you were on.  Also, choosing to take what is called a “Family Route”, which increases your chance of having children, or continuing again on the life path you are on.  The last decision you have to make is whether or not to choose a risky path, where quite a bit of money can be made or lost, somewhat like investing money, or the safe path which is status quo. At the end you count the money and whoever has the most, wins the game. Pretty neat concept to teach children about the flows of life.

The Penny - How It Relates to Turkey Production | via MinnesotaTurkey.com #turkeyeveryday #agchat #MNAg #minnesotaturkey

My wife, Brenda, two older children, Abby and Wyatt, and I were playing a game the other day and we were counting our money at the end when our youngest child, Isaac, just happened to come to the table with an actual penny in his hand. I decided he won the game since he was the only one who had any money on the table with actual value.

A penny…our smallest unit of currency won the game!  I have heard many reports of why we should stop making pennies since they cost more to mint than they are is worth.  There are a lot of people who won’t bend over to pick one up when found on the ground and most convenience stores have a “take one, leave one” container at their counters so you don’t have to have a few cents making noise in your pockets.  What role does the penny have in our society?  I don’t have the slightest idea but I can tell you what it means in our business.

Our marketing contracts with our processor are all based on net pounds of live production.  This means we get paid a certain amount for every “useable” pound of bird we sell.  We talk in tenths and hundredths of a cent daily.  It is very common to get hung up on one or two tenths of a cent when it comes to negotiating these contracts.  Yes, that’s right, $.001.  It won’t go a long way in filling your gas tank but when you multiply it out over a couple million net pounds of turkey processed it adds up fast.

Our contract pays us what formulas say it SHOUD cost for certain thing such as feed cost, poult cost, heating cost, and then there is a classification called “Other Growing Cost”.  These are exactly what the words say, all the other costs associated with raising birds such as: labor costs, electric expenses, medication costs, loan and interest payments, and bedding costs to name a few.  This whole portion is called the Base portion of the contract. Then there is a Market portion of the contract that adds to or takes away from the Base portion depending on what the Base value is compared with the Market value.  If the Market value is higher, it pays a premium and if it is lower, some is taken away.  At the end there are a few incentives or deductions based of performance and we have our value we get paid per net pound of bird.

It is so interesting to look at how a tenth of a cent savings here or a quarter of a cent there can make a huge difference on the bottom line. It so easy to say we should have done this or that looking back at a flock after processing but a little harder to see when the birds are in the barns.  I guess the best thing to do is to just keep “picking up the pennies” when we see them during the flock and hopefully they will add up at the end.  A few examples are things like not running too much heat and wasting fuel, leaving lights on during summer days, having feed spills all over the barn, and most importantly keeping the birds comfortable with optimal growing conditions.  Each difference might only make a fraction of a difference but when added together can mean a lot.

That is why I always will bend down to pick up a penny when I see one on the ground. It might be the difference in winning or losing the game whether it is business or Life.

Happy New Year to All!

Pete