Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota Turkey’

Turkey To Go and Minnesota Turkey – Two Classics at the State Fair

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release

Contact:                                                                                                      

Lara Durben, Minnesota Turkey Growers Association

Ph: 763/682-2171 (office) or 612/554-0920 (cell)

ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

 

(Buffalo, MN) … With the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) celebrating its 75th anniversary this year as an organization, and its concession stand, Turkey To Go, entering its 56th year at the Minnesota State Fair, there’s a whole lot of history worth celebrating!

MTGA was formed in 1939 by several turkey farmers in the state who wanted an organization that could bring the turkey industry together and collectively work to improve and expand turkey production in Minnesota. Several decades later, the organization was going strong and turkey farmers were looking for new ways to promote the consumption of turkey on a large scale. Participating in the Minnesota State Fair was an obvious choice.

In 1958, the humble beginnings of Turkey To Go started, first under a rented canvas covered frame and the name “Turkey Teria” and later, several new buildings along the way, Turkey To Go grew into what it is today – a perennial State Fair favorite concession stand. In fact, in 2012 Turkey To Go was named the very first “People’s Choice for Best Fair Food or Beverage”, voted on by fairgoers.

Today, Turkey To Go is still owned by the MTGA with day-to-day operations handled by The Turkey Guys. While MTGA handles much of the behind-the-scenes details of the operation prior to and during the State Fair and is responsible for upkeep to the building and equipment, The Turkey Guys – better known as Drew Levin and Daniel Perkins – bring in their staff to run the concession stand, including cooking and serving up turkey to hungry fairgoers.

MTGA Executive Director Steve Olson says the goal of Turkey To Go isn’t much different than 56 years ago – to showcase to fairgoers that turkey can be a delicious, nutritious option for meals all year-long.

“Turkey has always been the centerpiece of the classic Thanksgiving meal, but today, it’s so much more than that,” said Olson. “Minnesota’s turkey companies have developed over 2,000 different turkey products so consumers can enjoy a variety of different cuts and recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  That type of innovation and the knowledge and expertise of our multi-generational turkey farm families have led to Minnesota’s growth over the last 75 years to the #1 turkey-producing state in the nation.”

Also a long-standing tradition at the State Fair, MTGA is proud to announce that a portion of every sale at Turkey To Go will be donated to Hunger Solutions Minnesota (www.hungersolutions.org), an organization that is dedicated to ending hunger. This is the seventh straight year of continuing this tradition of giving back.

“Minnesota’s 450 family farmers have 75 years of history behind them, raising the highest quality turkey for consumers,” said Olson. “We’re humbled by these many decades of success and we’re looking forward to what the future will bring.”

About Turkey To Go

Turkey To Go concession at the Minnesota State Fair is located at 1256 Clough Avenue, next door to the All-You-Can-Drink Milk Stand.

Turkey To Go’s Giant Juicy Turkey Sandwich comes in its original version or a gigantic half-pound option. The concession stand also serves up its popular roasted turkey drumsticks. Topping choices for these items include: bleu cheese crumbles and buffalo sauce; brie cheese and cranberry sauce; and crispy chopped bacon and sweet glaze.

Turkey To Go’s mobile food cart locations in downtown serve the same menu and can be found most weekdays during lunch at South 8th Street and Nicollet Mall.  A second location at South 6th Street and Hennepin Avenue is utilized during Minnesota Twins’ home games. For up-to-date location information, follow Turkey To Go on Twitter (@TurkeyToGo).

In addition, Turkey To Go has two locations in Target Field during Minnesota Twins’ home games (between sections 112-113 and also in 318), and is open year-round with an expanded menu in the Baker Building food court (706 2nd Avenue South, downtown Minneapolis) from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on weekdays.

Fans can find Turkey To Go on Facebook (www.facebook.com/turkeytogo), Twitter (@TurkeyToGo), and at www.turkeytogo.com.

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 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 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/education 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.

Media Coverage of #Popcorn and #Caramel

Did you catch this terrific video piece from CNN about Minnesota’s Presidential turkeys?  Check it out!

And here’s a video piece from Politico:

Other media links:

Wall Street Journal          For Thanksgiving turkeys, presidential pardon takes practice

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304011304579218182047208114

 

Time Magazine                 10 things you probably didn’t know about presidential turkey pardons

http://nation.time.com/2013/11/26/10-things-you-probably-didnt-know-about-presidential-turkey-pardons/

 

People.com                       President Obama pardons Thanksgiving turkeys

http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20761491,00.html

 

Politico.com                      President Obama crowns victor of turkey ‘Hunger Games’

http://www.politico.com/story/2013/11/turkey-pardon-2013-100433.html

Photo gallery: http://www.politico.com/gallery/2013/11/2013-national-thanksgiving-turkey-pardon/001473-020768.html#.UpTTJCnxC8E.email

 

Washington Post             Popcorn the turkey wins presidential pardon, but Caramel also spared

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/popcorn-the-turkey-comes-out-on-top-in-presidential-pardon-poll/2013/11/27/2a57b2be-56e5-11e3-835d-e7173847c7cc_story.html

 

New York Times               History of the Presidential Turkey Pardon

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/27/us/politics/a-history-of-the-presidential-turkey-pardon.html?_r=0

 

New York Daily News      Sibling of turkeys getting presidential pardon has a different fate, as food for the    needy at The Salvation Army
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/sibling-turkeys-presidential-pardon-meets-governor-article-1.1529278

 

Canoe.TV (Canada)         Video of ceremony

http://en.video.canoe.tv/archive/source/st-catharines-standard/us-president-barack-obama-pardons-thanksgiving-turkey/2876420678001

 

Associated Press              Obama pardons turkeys as part of annual White House rite

http://www.twincities.com/politics/ci_24613654/obama-pardons-turkeys-part-annual-rite

 

Pioneer Press                    This Minnesota turkey drew the short straw

http://www.twincities.com/life/ci_24558808/this-turkey-drew-short-straw?IADID=Search-www.twincities.com-www.twincities.com

 

Star Tribune                      So far, this Minnesota turkey is one lucky bird

* Includes Minnesota Turkey video footage, photos and a link to our micro-website

http://www.startribune.com/local/east/232602961.html

 

Star Tribune                      Minnesota turkeys win White House pardon

http://www.startribune.com/politics/blogs/233651281.html

 

Star Tribune                      Minnesota continues grand tradition of not pardoning turkey

http://www.startribune.com/politics/statelocal/233404031.html

 

ObamaFoodorama.com                   Several blog posts

http://www.obamafoodorama.blogspot.com/2013/11/president-obama-to-be-presented-with.html

http://www.obamafoodorama.blogspot.com/2013/11/popcorn-or-carmel-white-house-runs.html

http://www.obamafoodorama.blogspot.in/2013/11/president-obama-pardons-minnesota.html

 

The Huffington Post       Obama pardons national Thanksgiving turkey

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/27/obama-turkey-pardon_n_4351282.html

 

Dakota Student (UND)   Burkels to talk turkey at White House

http://www.dakotastudent.com/2765/features/burkels-to-talk-turkey-at-white-house/

 

India Times                        America’s biggest shopping weekend (turkey pardon mentioned)

http://www.indiatimes.com/news/americas/americas-biggest-shopping-weekend-114714.html

 

Washington Times          Inside the Beltway – Obama Plan: Raise Money, Then Pardon Turkey

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/nov/24/inside-the-beltway-obama-plan-raise-money-then-par/

 

VetStreet.com                  What it takes to get a Presidential pardon

http://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/holiday-trivia-what-it-takes-to-get-a-presidential-turkey-pardon

 

Canada Poultry                Standing proud

http://www.agannex.com/business-policy/standing-proud

 

MPR.org                             Minnesota turkey goes up for presidential pardon

http://www.mprnews.org/story/2013/11/21/news/turkey-presidential-pardon

 

Staffer blog                         Recap of pardoning week

http://myothermoreexcitingself.wordpress.com/2013/12/01/thanksgiving-in-washington-dc-presidentialturkey13/

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[JH1] . 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

 

Road Trip to DC!

The Presidential Turkeys are Off to DC | via minnesotaturkey.com/presidentialturkey

Have you seen the photo we posted on Facebook earlier today? It’s the Presidential turkeys making their way to Washington DC in the back of their vehicle – looking very comfortable, we might add!

We just heard tonight – via the driver of the car – that the birds are loving Lady Gaga. Everytime they hear “Bad Romance” they gobble!

You can’t make this stuff up.

Obama Foodorama Blog Talks Turkey!

Obama Foodorama Blog on the National Thanksgiving Turkey 2013  | via minnesotaturkey.com/presidentialturkey

Check out this great post from the Obama Foodorama blog – it’s all about the Presidential turkey and the Burkel family from Minnesota – along with some historical tidbits about the National Thanksgiving Turkey ceremony, an annual tradition since 1947 when Harry S. Truman was president.

http://obamafoodorama.blogspot.com/2013/11/president-obama-to-be-presented-with.html

 

Schools Visits: The Bird’s the Word

This week, we’re in the midst of several school visits in the Twin Cities. We brought two of the turkeys from the Presidential flock in Badger down to the Twin Cities last weekend and they are now making the rounds at several urban and suburban schools.

It’s great fun, as for the most part, these kids have never been this close to a live turkey before. We present information on turkey farming, Thanksgiving and the Presidential flock – and then give them a chance to meet the turkey in person. Plus, our newest staff member, Erica, grew up on a turkey farm so that brings the connection even closer.

Kids always ask the best questions – and they are always super curious about the snood (the fleshy piece of skin hanging off the turkey’s beak). As we’ve mentioned before, the snood on tom turkeys doesn’t serve much of a purpose except that hen turkeys think it’s pretty special. (And yes, the kids thinks that’s pretty funny!)

We dusted off the following video, which we used a couple of years ago for similar school visits – there are a couple of dates wrong, but the information is good and the format is fun for the kids.

Plus, we added this video, which introduces the Burkel family from Badger to the kids:


Enjoy a few of our photos from our school visits – it’s been a fun week!

Presidential Flock - School Visits in the Twin Cities | via minnesotaturkey.com/presidentialturkey

Presidential Flock - School Visits in the Twin Cities | via minnesotaturkey.com/presidentialturkey

Presidential Flock - School Visits in the Twin Cities | via minnesotaturkey.com/presidentialturkey

Presidential Flock - School Visits in the Twin Cities | via minnesotaturkey.com/presidentialturkey

Presidential Flock - School Visits in the Twin Cities | via minnesotaturkey.com/presidentialturkey

Presidential Flock - School Visits in the Twin Cities | via minnesotaturkey.com/presidentialturkey

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.