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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.

Get Your Gobble On!

Just in time for the weekend … check out this fun video of folks from Minnesota getting their gobble on!  Most are from Badger High School – filmed by Alex Burkel. If there was ever a turkey video worth sharing with your friends, this is it! :-)

Badger, MN Classroom Visits to the Farm

Last week, two classes from Badger Elementary School visited the Presidential flock, learned more about raising turkeys and, in the process, helped acclimate the turkeys even further to lots of noise and commotion. The photos below are of the kindergarten and 5th grade classes.

John and Joni Burkel’s two youngest children, Emily and Jack are part of those classes, as well. Emily is a kindergartner and Jack is a 5th grader. Judging from these photos, it looks like everyone had a great time learning about turkeys!

Presidential Turkey Flock 2013 | Student Visits on the Farm - via minnesotaturkey.com/presidentialturkey

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Jack handing out turkey toes

Presidential Turkey Flock 2013 | Student Visits on the Farm - via minnesotaturkey.com/presidentialturkey

 

 

 

 

 

It Takes Two to Tango

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

This post is purely for fun and entertainment! One of the Badger High School students was in the large turkey barn at the Burkel farm last week and found herself a friend – or dancing partner, perhaps!

We couldn’t resist creating this video – thanks, Kate, for giving us permission!

Digging the Snood

What would you name these 2013 Presidential Turkey Hopefuls? from MN | via minnesotaturkey.com/presidentialturkey

Have you heard? Female turkeys really dig the snood!

But what is the snood? And the wattle for that matter?

Check out this short video featuring Alex Burkel, whose family is raising the Presidential flock in Minnesota this year. Alex points out the wattle and the snood – no thanks to a photobombing turkey – and also explains that turkeys have about 3,500 feathers or so.

Turns out, a snood’s main function in life is to attract the girl turkeys (or “hens”) to the boy turkeys (or “toms”).

See it really is true – chicks dig the snood!

 

Team Presidential Turkey: Meet the Burkel Kids

Team Presidential Turkey 2013: Meet the Burkel Kids | via www.minnesotaturkey.com/presidentialturkey

Hi, my name is Andrea Burkel. This year my family has been given the honor to raise the turkeys for the Thanksgiving Pardoning with the president, so I thought I’d start out by introducing everyone!

First I’ll talk a little about myself. I am currently 17 years old and a senior in Badger High School. I’m planning to attend college at UND (University of North Dakota) after I graduate. My interests include volleyball, golf, band, and choir.

My older sister, Vanessa, is 19 and currently attending college at UND. Alex, my 15 year old brother, is a sophomore at Badger. He loves playing his trumpet and is also involved in one act plays, basketball, and golf.

My other brother Jack is 10 and in fifth grade. Right now he’s hooked on the video games Minecraft and Call Of Duty: Black Ops II. He’s also learning to play trumpet and likes to play outside, jumping on the trampoline and playing in the tree house that he and Alex built in our backyard last summer.

Emily, the baby of the family, will be turning 6 in December. She’s in kindergarten this year. Emily loves to play dress up and often has tea parties with the rest of us kids and all of her dolls.

I’ll be posting more later about caring for the presidential turkeys with my family and friends! Stay tuned… :-)

Team Presidential Turkey 2013: Meet the Burkel Kids | via www.minnesotaturkey.com/presidentialturkey

We’ve had quite a few visitors to our farm this month because friends and family want to come check out the Presidential flock! It’s great practice for the turkeys – they need to get used to people being close and taking their pictures.

Team Presidential Turkey 2013: Meet the Burkel Kids | via www.minnesotaturkey.com/presidentialturkey

Here are a couple of the turkeys, preening for the camera – see how their feathers are all puffed out? They do that to show off!

 

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!

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!”

Gobbling Up Turkey To Go – a 55-Year Minnesota State Fair Tradition

PRESS RELEASE

Contact:                                                                                                      

Lara Durben, Minnesota Turkey Growers Association

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

ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

 

Gobbling Up Turkey To Go – Named People’s Choice for Best Fair Food in 2012!

(Buffalo, MN) … Turkey To Go concession stand couldn’t be prouder of its 55-year tradition at the Minnesota State Fair.Owned by the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) with day-to-day operations handled by The Turkey Guys, Turkey To Go has built its reputation as a State Fair mainstay, serving up turkey since 1958!

In 2012, Turkey To Go was named “People’s Choice for Best Fair Food or Beverage”, a new honor bestowed by the State Fair and voted on by fairgoers.

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

Visit us at the State Fair for a Giant Juicy Turkey Sandwich!

Visit us at the State Fair for a Giant Juicy Turkey Sandwich!

“It’s exciting for Turkey To Go to be named the favorite food at the State Fair last year,” said Olson. “With over five decades of experience serving up a variety of turkey products at at the State Fair, we’re proud of the way our Giant Juicy Turkey sandwich has taken off in popularity.  And thanks to a mobile cart in downtown Minneapolis, two venus in Target Field, and two indoor food court restaurants in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Turkey To Go continues to expand its reach year-round.”

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.

MTGA works in tandem with its partner, The Turkey Guys, to ensure the success of Turkey to Go at the State Fair. 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.

The Turkey Guys may look familiar to folks who stop by the concession stand – they star in a new HGTV show, “Renovate to Rent,” which follows another one of their successful business ventures – buying properties in the Twin Cities, renovating them and then renting them out.

In addition, 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 sixth straight year of continuing this tradition of giving back.

“Minnesota’s 250 family farmers are dedicated to raising the highest quality turkey for consumers,” said Olson. “It’s been exciting to showcase Minnesota-raised turkey products through all of the Turkey To Go ventures, and

Everyone loves our Giant Juicy Turkey Sandwiches!

Everyone loves our Giant Juicy Turkey Sandwiches!

especially continue our longstanding presence at the Minnesota State Fair.”

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 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 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) and the Alliance Bank Building food court (56 East 6th Street, downtown Saint Paul) from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. 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 250 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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