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Minnesota Turkey Debuts New Website Just in Time for Thanksgiving!

NEWS RELEASE

Contact:  Lara Durben, MTGA Communications Director, 763/682-2171, mobile 612/554-0920 or ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

Buffalo, Minn. (November 10, 2014) – The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) has announced the launch of its new website, www.minnesotaturkey.com.

The website features a plethora of information and videos on Minnesota’s 450 turkey farmers, which rank #1 for turkey production in the U.S. Sections of the website also highlight facts and myths about the turkey, a bird native to North America and the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving meal. Minnesota’s turkey farmers raise 46 million turkeys annually.

In addition, the website features tools for students and teachers; links for recipes and safe food handling in the kitchen; and a section that highlights MTGA and its sister organization, the Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council.

“This website revamp has been several months in the making and we really focused on showing people the farmers behind the turkeys,” said Steve Olson, MTGA Executive Director. “We have several new videos that highlight farmers this month, as they talk about what they love about raising turkeys and what they’d like consumers to know about turkey farming.

This section – titled “Real Farmers | Real Farms” aims to bring turkey farmers closer to people who may not know much about what it’s like to live on a farm or raise animals for food production. The videos can found here: www.minnesotaturkey.com/farmers/real-farmers-real-farms/ and are easily share-able on social media platforms.

MTGA is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. The organization, founded in 1939, 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 employ nearly 8,000 people and have created over 2,000 turkey products for the consumer and foodservice markets that are shipped across the country and the world.

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.

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About MTGA

The MTGA, 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 annually. For further information, visit www.minnesotaturkey.com or find us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MinnesotaTurkey), Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey), Pinterest (www.pinterest.com/minnesotaturkey) and YouTube (www.youtube.com/minnesotaturkey).

 

MTGA Announces 2014-15 President, Executive Committee

News Release

For immediate release

Contact:  Lara Durben

Phone:     (763) 682-2171

E-mail:      ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

Officers Hail from Pelican Rapids, Redwood Falls, Willmar & Northfield

(Buffalo, MN)… John Gorton, Gorton Turkeys, Pelican Rapids, Minn., has been elected President of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) and Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council (MTRPC) for 2014-15.

“2014 is our 75th anniversary of MTGA as an organization. In order to create our future, we will need to continue to identify opportunities and meet challenges head on,” said Gorton after officially being handed the presidential gavel at the MTRPC-MTGA Annual Meeting on March 19 in Saint Paul, Minn. “The most effective way to do that is to continue our model of industry cooperation and partnerships with other agriculture organizations, the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Board of Animal Health.”

Gorton has spent his entire life in the turkey industry, including 19 active years as an adult – the early years with Jennie-O Turkey and later with this father.  Gorton Turkeys raises over 500,000 turkeys (a combination of both hens and toms) annually.

John is currently serving his third term on the MTGA and MTRPC Boards. He also has been a featured farmer for the Farmers Feed Us program in Minnesota. John, his wife Trudy and family live in Pelican Rapids and have two sons. He is an active member of the Pelican Rapids Jaycees and volunteers as a Den Leader for Cub Scouts.

Gorton succeeds John Zimmerman, who officially steps into the Past President role. Zimmerman runs the family farm – P & J Products, Northfield, MN – along with his mother, Karen Zimmerman. He has been in the turkey industry all his life and P & J Products raise approximately 3-4 million pounds of turkey annually and also raise 500 acres of corn and soybeans.

John, who is serving his third term on the MTGA and MTRPC Boards,  graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in animal science. He also is a graduate of the Minnesota Agricultural Rural Leadership Program (MARL) and spent several years serving on the Board of Directors of MARL. In addition, he is board secretary of the River County Co-op. He and his wife, Kara, live in Northfield.

The remaining two members of the MTGA / MTRPC Executive Committee are Vice President  Gene Brownfield, Winter Creek Farms, Redwood Falls, Minn., and Treasurer Robert Orsten, Orsten Turkeys of Willmar, Minn.

Secretary-Treasurer 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).

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.

Treasurer 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. He is serving his third term on the MTGA and MTRPC Boards.

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.

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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Photo cutline:  From left, Treasurer Robert Orsten, Past President John Zimmerman and President John Gorton; not pictured is Vice President Gene Brownfield.

MN Turkey Growers Association Offers Scholarship Program

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About MTGA

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

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. 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

 

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.

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! :-)