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Why Do We Overproduce in Agriculture? (In Other Words, Eat More Turkey!)

It doesn’t matter what segment of agriculture you are in, or even life in general, when things are going good for us, we tend to want more.  It is just simple human nature.  It doesn’t matter if you raise livestock or sell houses; in general, we seem to always be looking for more.  How to cut costs, how to increase efficiencies, how to market products better; all in order to maximize our profits.  I am not saying this is a bad thing, I am just making a very large generalization that, in our society, we tend to measure success by how much stuff we have including, but not limited to, money.

Can we do what we enjoy doing, cash flow and have a little left over to live on? This is the goal of writing any business plan or business start-up.  There are many levels to this statement based on how large or small the business, whether it is privately or publicly owned and so on and so forth but either way businesses still should be profitable long term.

This is the main reason agriculture overproduces. I think agriculture, and even more specifically animal agriculture, the difference between the good and bad years are so drastic that farmers find themselves ramping up production over a couple of years, to the point of overproducing in the good times, in order to make it through the bad. Again, the human nature thing takes over. Add to this the fact that as processors see the opportunity to make profits, they are quick to agree to, or even ask, producers to increase volume.  Also, many processors are also producers so then there is the ability to make it on both the growing and marketing ends of the spectrum.

As we look to the end of 2017 and 2018, I’m not going to sugarcoat it – the outlook is a little grim in the turkey industry. We are coming off a couple years of pretty good profitability, some better than others but overall, good times. As an industry we increased how many pounds we produced in 2016 and year to date in 2017 compared with to the prior 3 year average and projections through year end seem to stay heading in this same direction.  The “MORE is better”, human nature thing again.

Unfortunately, we are now past the point that our supply of turkey is getting larger than the demand.  Also, other meat industries have also increase their production over the same time so the added supply of all meat proteins is pulling down the value for all producers since it is fairly easy to substitute any animal protein into meals. Because of this, it is easy for shoppers in a grocery store to buy whatever is the cheapest meat to make for their families. This isn’t a big deal for us who raise the animals; my wife and I tend to do the same thing when we are shopping. The problem comes when the price wholesale purchasers and retail consumers are willing to pay is less than the cost to produce, process and market it.  This seems to be where we are or will be heading in the very near future in the turkey industry.

There are many factors that might affect this supply and demand problem going forward but the easiest and simplest way is for the demand to increase in the U.S. and/or export markets. Simply said, please add a little more turkey meats to your normal meal plans whether at home or at a restaurant. And while you’re stocking up for the Thanksgiving meal, take advantage of the supermarket sales and add a second or even third turkey to your cart and then stick these in your freezer at home for use this winter. All of us in the turkey industry would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks for reading – and if you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to post them here or head over to Minnesota Turkey’s Facebook page and share your thoughts.

Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Our Farm Family Moments

Biosecurity is a way of life on our farms.  It is never far from our thought process.

We have come to realize that operational biosecurity is about awareness and action. Awareness of how our actions or inactions may impact flock health. We must have awareness to our clothing, to our footwear, to our vehicles and farm equipment. We have awareness of how close anything gets to the barn and what enters the barn. We have awareness of just how much wildlife, both winged and footed, are around the farms. Our mindset is one of – how does what we do lessen the potential of virus introduction onto the farm and into the flocks in our day to day work on the farm?  We weave biosecurity into each day, teaching it to the next generation, in hopes that for them it will be second nature.

Fact: Biosecurity is now a way of life on the farm and has changed many things about how we do our day to day work. However, we feel strongly that the practice of biosecurity will not stop our family from being close to and enjoying our flocks. We encourage the grandchildren to be involved in taking care of the farm. It is through their hands-on involvement with the farm and livestock that they learn practical skills and responsibility. We believe that it is in the moments of working with and caring for living things when the love of farming takes roots and lasts a lifetime.

We hope you enjoy some of our farm family moments.

Our Farm Family Moments | via MinnesotaTurkey.com/wingtips

The Gessell Family. Our children grew up on our turkey farm. They all continue to love the farm and enjoy bringing their children home to the farm. Samantha and JonPaul are now in partnership with us raising turkeys. (Photo, from left: Nick and Marissa with Piper, JonPaul and Samantha with Lawrence and Lillian and Austin.)

Our Farm Family Moments | via MinnesotaTurkey.com/wingtips

Here is Grandpa John with daughter Samantha and grandchildren Lawrence and Lillian taking a moment to watch the birds that were just moved into the finishing barn.

Here is Grandpa John with daughter Samantha and grandchildren Lawrence and Lillian taking a moment to watch the birds that were just moved into the finishing barn.

Lawrence just can’t get enough!

Here is Grandpa John with daughter Samantha and grandchildren Lawrence and Lillian taking a moment to watch the birds that were just moved into the finishing barn.

Neither can little Lillian!

Lawrence is  taking instruction from his dad on how to use the feed scoops to feed baby turkeys.

Some skills take practice to master – including feeding the birds!

Cousin Piper comes home to help.

 

On the hunt in the haystack to see if momma kitty had her babies!

Our Farm Family Moments | via MinnesotaTurkey.com/wingtips

When Cousin Piper comes to see Lawrence, they just have to take a spin around the farm.

 

Our Farm Family Moments | via MinnesotaTurkey.com/wingtips

Back to work.  Lawrence is in the shop learning to use the vice.

 

Our Farm Family Moments | via MinnesotaTurkey.com/wingtips

Here are Lillian and Lawrence again, check out the flock!

Our Farm Family Moments | via MinnesotaTurkey.com/wingtips

Oh boy, a sewer clog!  Call the pumper truck.

Our Farm Family Moments | via MinnesotaTurkey.com/wingtips

Here is JonPaul enjoying a ride on the lawn tractor with his hands and his heart full!

Our Farm Family Moments | via MinnesotaTurkey.com/wingtips

Our little Viking Granddaughter Lillian enjoying a turkey drumstick.

Our family wishes you a wonderful Thanksgiving Day surrounded by the ones you love!

Lynette and John

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanksgiving Week Kicks Off with Governor Dayton Talking Turkey

 MTGA Announces Donation of $9,000 Toward Turkey Product Purchases to Hunger Solutions Minnesota

St. Paul, MN (November 21, 2016) – Governor Mark Dayton continued the time-honored tradition – dating back to the 1940s – of kicking off Thanksgiving week with the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) and Minnesota Turkey Research & Promotion Council (MTRPC) at the State Capitol today. Also in special attendance was a tom (male) turkey, raised near Melrose, Minn.

“As we look back on 2016 and compare it to 2015, our farmers are thankful for the success we have had this year after rebounding from the impact of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza,” said MTRPC President Robert Orsten, a turkey breeder farmer from Willmar, Minn. ”Fortunately, 2016 has been influenza free for our flocks, yet we remain diligent in our preparation to protect bird health if the virus should return.”

At the event, Orsten announced the donation of approximately $9,000 to Hunger Solutions Minnesota (HSM), which will go toward the purchase of turkey products to 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 Orsten. “Minnesota’s turkey farmers are committed to helping do their part to combat hunger with our annual donation to Hunger Solutions Minnesota.”

Orsten grew up on a turkey farm, and today he and his family have farms in Kandiyohi and Swift counties where they raise 70,000 breeder turkeys and also grow corn, beans, and hay.

Since 2001, MTGA has donated approximately 235 million pounds of turkey to various areas of the state, which will feed 315,000 people in Minnesota. In other words, enough turkey feed Kandiyohi County – where the Orstens raise most of the birds – 7.5 times over!

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. One in five Minnesota families struggles to put healthy meals on their tables. The need for emergency food relief continues to be a problem in Minnesota even as our economy has improved.

“As we prepare for Thanksgiving, it’s important to keep in mind our neighbors who struggle with food insecurity throughout the year,” said Colleen Moriarty, Executive Director of Hunger Solutions Minnesota. “Hunger Solutions Minnesota connects people in need with resources through the Minnesota Food HelpLine, and supports local food shelves throughout the state. The generosity of groups like the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association has an impact on the families we serve throughout the year.”

Approximately 450 turkey family farmers from Minnesota raise about 46 million birds annually. Minnesota remains steadfast at the #1 position in the U.S. for turkey production.

Current U.S. turkey production stands at 228 million this year – 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.

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About MTGA

The MTGA, founded in 1939 and located in Buffalo, MN, is a nonprofit association dedicated to fostering a successful Minnesota turkey industry and its ability to make positive contributions to consumers, the economy, the environment and its members. Minnesota is currently ranked #1 for turkey production in the U.S. with its 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 www.facebook.com/HungerSolutionsMinnesota

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Thanksgiving Week Kicks Off with Governor Dayton Talking Turkey

Contact:

MTGA Announces Donation of $12,000 Toward Turkey Product Purchases to Hunger Solutions Minnesota

St. Paul, MN (November 23, 2015) – Governor Mark Dayton continued the time-honored tradition – dating back to the 1940s – of kicking off Thanksgiving week with the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) and Minnesota Turkey Research & Promotion Council (MTRPC) at the State Capitol today. Also in special attendance was a tom (male) turkey, raised near Morristown, Minn.

This year, the event holds special significance as Minnesota’s turkey farmers have had a particularly challenging year, after an unprecedented outbreak of highly-pathogenic avian influenza broke last spring. A total of 108 poultry farms (104 of those were turkey farms) were hit, but all farms are now well on their way to being back in business.

“Our farmers are rebounding and those impacted by avian influenza have restocked their barns with turkeys – or will be doing so soon. That’s why this Thanksgiving, we give special thanks for many reasons,” said MTRPC President Robert Orsten, a turkey breeder farmer from Willmar, Minn. “We especially appreciate the bipartisan support of the Governor and Minnesota legislature throughout this challenging year for our farmers.”

At the event, Orsten announced the donation of approximately $12,000 to Hunger Solutions Minnesota (HSM), which will go toward the purchase of turkey products to 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 Orsten. “Minnesota’s turkey farmers are committed to helping do their part to combat hunger with our annual donation to Hunger Solutions Minnesota.”

Orsten grew up on a turkey farm, and today he and his family have farms in Kandiyohi and Swift counties where they raise 70,000 breeder turkeys and also grow corn, beans, and hay.

Since 2001, MTGA has donated approximately a quarter of a million pounds of turkey to various areas of the state – or enough turkey to feed the entire population of Saint Paul.

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. One in five Minnesota families struggles to put healthy meals on their tables.  The need for emergency food relief continues to be a problem in Minnesota even as our economy has improved.

“As we prepare for Thanksgiving, it’s important to keep in mind our neighbors who struggle with food insecurity throughout the year. Every day in Minnesota 9,000 people visit a food shelf because they need help putting food on the table,” said Colleen Moriarty, Executive Director of Hunger Solutions Minnesota. “Hunger Solutions Minnesota connects people in need with resources through the Minnesota Food HelpLine, and supports local food shelves throughout the state.  The generosity of groups like the Minnesota Turkey Association has an impact on the families we serve throughout the year.”

Approximately 450 turkey family farmers from Minnesota raise about 46 million birds annually, although the actual amount in 2015 will be less than this because of the avian influenza outbreak. Regardless, Minnesota remains at the #1 position in the U.S. for turkey production.

Current U.S. turkey production stands at 228 million this year – 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.

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About MTGA

The MTGA, founded in 1939 and located in Buffalo, MN, is a nonprofit association dedicated to fostering a successful Minnesota turkey industry and its ability to make positive contributions to consumers, the economy, the environment and its members. Minnesota is currently ranked #1 for turkey production in the U.S. with its 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 http://www.minnesotaturkey.com/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

Thanksgiving Week Kicks Off with Governor Dayton Talking Turkey

NEWS RELEASE

Contact:
Lara Durben, MTGA Communications Director
763/682-2171, cell 612/554-0920 or ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com
UPDATED:  11/24/14, 1:30 p.m.

St. Paul, MN (November 24, 2014) – Governor Mark Dayton welcomed the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) and two hen turkeys to the State Capitol today. The event marks a time-honored tradition, going back since the 1940s, of Minnesota’s Governor kicking off Thanksgiving week.

This year, the event holds special significance as MTGA is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2014. The organization was formed in 1939 by a group of turkey farmers who saw a need to come together to network and learn from each other, as well as advocate for turkey as a year-round protein option.

“Today we give thanks for our state’s strong agriculture industry and we reflect on the long and storied history of Minnesota’s turkey farmers. We are grateful our ability to provide food to a growing world population – including the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving table, the turkey,” said MTGA President and turkey farmer John Gorton, Pelican Rapids, Minn.

At the event, Gorton announced the donation of approximately 13,000 pounds of turkey (value – approximately $13,000) 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 Gorton. “Minnesota’s turkey farmers are committed to helping do their part to combat hunger with our annual donation to Hunger Solutions Minnesota.”

The turkey donated today will feed 19,500 people.

Gorton is a 3rd generation family farmer who raises about 125,000 turkeys each year.

Since 2001, MTGA has donated 215,000 pounds of turkey to various areas of the state – or enough turkey to feed over 275,000 people (roughly the population of Saint Paul).  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.

One in five Minnesota families struggles to put healthy meals on their tables.  The need for emergency food relief continues to be a problem in Minnesota even as our economy has improved.

“Hunger Solutions Minnesota is answering the call to end hunger with our Food HelpLine and new initiatives like the mobile food shelf network”, said Colleen Moriarty, Executive Director at Hunger Solutions.  “The unwavering generosity of Minnesota family farmers and the Minnesota Turkey Association has ripple effects throughout the state and onto the kitchen tables of needy Minnesota families.”

Approximately 450 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.

Current U.S. turkey production stands at 235 million this year – which means Minnesota farmers raise nearly 20% of all U.S. turkeys. U.S. turkey production was down about 3% overall this year; Minnesota saw a smaller drop in the 1-2% range. 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.

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About MTGA

The MTGA, founded in 1939 and located in Buffalo, MN, is a nonprofit association dedicated to fostering a successful Minnesota turkey industry and its ability to make positive contributions to consumers, the economy, the environment and its members. Minnesota is currently ranked #1 for turkey production in the U.S. with its 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

Myth-Busting: Turkey Style

For immediate release

Contact: Lara Durben, Phone: 763/682-2171 | Mobile: 612/554-0920, ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

 

MYTH:

Turkeys are pumped full of added hormones and steroids so they fatten up quickly.

TRUTH:

All turkeys in the U.S. are raised without any added hormones and steroids. There are no hormones or steroids approved by the FDA for use in poultry and haven’t been since the 1950s. Turkeys are fed a healthy diet of whole and pelleted grains as well as vitamins. Feed for turkeys comes from Minnesota’s soybean and corn farmers. Turkeys always have access to fresh, clean water.

 

MYTH:

Turkeys are cooped up in barns, so close together they can’t move.

TRUTH:

Turkeys are raised in barns that provide a safe, comfortable home with plenty of space to move around.  Barns – which are specially designed just for turkeys – keep predators away, help farmers control germs and diseases from getting to the birds, and allow maximum comfort – turkeys stay cool in the summer, warm in the winter, and dry during inclement weather. Turkeys are not raised in cages.

 

MYTH:

The use of antibiotics in turkey production doesn’t have any oversight and turkey farmers use a litany of antibiotics regardless of whether their birds are sick or healthy.

TRUTH:

Antibiotic use in turkeys is overseen by veterinarians and follows strict guidelines.  Approved antibiotics in poultry production can be used to 1) individually treat sick birds, 2) control disease within an entire flock that has sick birds in it; and 3) to prevent disease completely. Depending on the situation, a farmer may choose to treat only the birds that are sick with antibiotics, but it is also true that a farmer may want to administer antibiotics to an entire flock after some sick birds in the flock are diagnosed. As is the case with humans and germs, sick birds can spread illness to healthy birds pretty quickly so sometimes the best way to ensure a flock stays as healthy as possible is to treat all the birds with medication.

Some poultry companies have announced they are ending the use of antibiotics for the overall prevention of disease; however, they will continue to use antibiotics as needed to treat sick birds and control disease within an entire flock because it’s the right thing to do for the birds. Turkey farmers feel it is the humane thing to do to treat sick birds with antibiotics, if that is the treatment prescribed by a veterinarian. We don’t know any farmer who wants to see his or her birds suffer from illness.

If antibiotics are prescribed to a flock, there is a mandatory withdrawal period and random testing by USDA before the birds can be processed, insuring that there are absolutely no antibiotic residues in the birds when they go to market.

 

MYTH:

There are very few family farmers who raise turkeys.

TRUTH:

Most turkey farms are operated by family farmers. Minnesota has the most independent turkey farmers of any U.S. state. and many of our 450 turkey farmers are 3rd, 4th and even 5th generation farm families.

 

MYTH:

Eating turkey makes you very tired.

TRUTH:

No, it’s not the turkey’s fault! Recent studies have shown that it is more likely a large, carbohydrate-rich meal – like the kind we eat at Thanksgiving – rather than just the turkey that causes sleepiness.  A carb-heavy meal like this releases tryptophans in the brain, causing drowsiness.

 

MYTH:

I have to get up at 4 a.m. to roast the turkey for Thanksgiving.

TRUTH:

Not these days! A whole turkey (unstuffed) that’s 8-12 pounds will take 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 hours to roast (a little longer if you stuff the turkey), so if you are planning a noon feast, you do not have to get up at 4 a.m.  And remember – the best measurement of doneness is with a meat thermometer that reaches 180 degrees in the thigh and 165 degrees in the breast.

 

MYTH:

Turkey is only eaten during the holidays in November and December.

TRUTH:

More and more Americans realize turkey isn’t just for the holidays. Although 50 percent of all turkey consumed in 1970 was during the holidays, today that number is around 31 percent. Incidentally, 95% of Americans will eat turkey at Thanksgiving this year.

 

MYTH:

The white meat of a turkey is better for you than dark meat.

TRUTH:

No matter what your preference, turkey is a lean source of protein with plenty of nutrient advantages. While a 3 oz. portion of turkey breast has 20 fewer calories and 3 more grams of protein than a similar-sized portion of turkey thigh, the dark meat actually has a higher mineral count and more iron, zinc and selenium.

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Sources: Minnesota Turkey Research & Promotion Council, National Turkey Federation, JennieO.com, Butterball.com, Food Network.com.

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).

 

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

 

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.

MN Turkey Announces Donation of 1,180 turkeys to Hunger Solutions Minnesota

For immediate release

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

Governor Dayton, Minnesota’s Turkey Farmers Usher in Thanksgiving

MTGA Announces Donation of 11,150 Pounds of Turkey to Hunger Solutions Minnesota

St. Paul, MN (November 20, 2012) – A Minnesota-raised tom turkey and the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) paid a visit to Governor Mark Dayton today at the State Capital in Saint Paul. The event was a time-honored tradition, going back more than two decades, of Minnesota’s Governor kicking off Thanksgiving week in Minnesota.

“I want to thank Governor Dayton for inviting us here today and continuing the tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving and giving thanks for Minnesota’s turkey farmers, our state’s strong agriculture industry and the abundance of food we provide for the world,” said President and turkey farmer Duane Jaenicke, Roseau, Minn.

At the event, Jaenicke announced the donation of 11,150 pounds of turkey – a total of 1,180 whole birds – to Hunger Solutions Minnesota (HSM), which will be distributed to food shelves and food banks across the state.

“It’s been a trying and challenging year for many families who are struggling to make ends meet,” Jaenicke. “Minnesota’s turkey farmers want to do their part in combating hunger with this donation to Hunger Solutions Minnesota,” said Jaenicke. “The turkey we donate today will feed nearly 13,000 people.”

Jaenicke runs P & J Farms along with his son, Scott. The operation raises approximately 100,000 to 130,000 hens for Northern Pride Cooperative out of Thief River Falls.

Since 2001, MTGA has donated over 190,000 pounds of turkey to various areas of the state – or enough turkey to feed over 236,000 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 Fair and new “likers” to the Minnesota Turkey Facebook page (www.facebook.com/minnesotaturkey).

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, there were 3 million visits to food shelves last year in our state. That reflects an increase of 164% over the past decade. Food shelves are an essential part of the safety net that responds to local need-food shelves fill in the meal gap between paid work and nutrition programs. In the last five years alone, hunger has doubled in Minnesota. This has put an immense strain on our emergency response to food insecurity. Long term unemployment has caused previously middle class families to turn to food shelves for answers to their food needs.

Said Colleen Moriarty, HSM Executive Director: “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.

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About MTGA

The 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 an estimated 46 million turkeys in 2012. 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 is a comprehensive hunger relief organization that works to end hunger in Minnesota. We take action to assure food security for all Minnesotans by supporting over 300 agencies that provide food to those in need, advancing sound public policy, and guiding grassroots advocacy. HSM advocates for the maximum use of all federal public nutrition dollars available and works to improve low income Minnesotans’ access to all nutrition programs. The HSM Minnesota Food HelpLine (1-888-711-1151) helps enroll low-income Minnesotans in the Food Support (Food Stamps) program and helps callers find emergency food assistance in their area. For further information, visit www.hungersolutions.org/ , on Twitter @hungersolutions or on Facebook

http://www.facebook.com/HungerSolutionsMinnesota

 

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