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Thanksgiving 2018 Recap

Thanksgiving 2018 is officially in the books, and although nothing turned out quite as we planned, Minnesota Turkey ultimately made a very positive impact in a variety of ways.

Where was the Governor?

For the first time in decades, MTGA did not co-host a Thanksgiving presentation with the Governor of Minnesota. Unfortunately, Governor Mark Dayton was at Mayo Clinic until just before Thanksgiving, recovering from some complications from back surgery. The situation was out of our hands and we’re glad to hear the Governor is doing well.

Hunger Solutions Minnesota Donation

Despite the lack of a press event with the Governor, MTGA continued its proud tradition of donating turkey to our partners at Hunger Solutions Minnesota. (see press release) This donation – amounting to 12,350 pounds and announced on November 21 – is made possible, in part, by sales from our Turkey To Go restaurant at the Minnesota State Fair. Since 2001, MTGA has donated over 286,000 pounds of turkey to food banks and food shelves across the state!

 

Facebook Live Farm Tour at Zimmermans

Live … from the Zimmerman Turkey Farm

MTRPC partnered with Minnesota Ag in the Classroom to go live on Facebook for a virtual tour of one of John Zimmerman’s turkey barns outside of Northfield, Minn. Originally we were going to travel to a turkey barn in the Melrose area this year, but because of the low pathogenic avian influenza situation in that area, we gave John a call and he graciously agreed to pinch hit. He did an outstanding job, the Facebook Live session was filled with questions from classrooms across the state, and the video has been viewed over 1,700 times so far. Thank you, John and also a big thanks to the crew at Minnesota Ag in the Classroom spearheading this event. and Minnesota Department of Agriculture for handling the technology behind-the-scenes. View the video here.

Agweek interview with Chris Huisinga

AgWeek Talks Turkey with President Huisinga

MTGA President Chris Huisinga and his wife, Joi, were gracious hosts of AgWeek’s general manager, Katie Pinke, and her staff the week prior to Thanksgiving. Katie wrote a great article about the couple and their move from the corporate world back to the family tradition of turkey production. A segment also aired on AgWeek television. AgWeek is owned by Forum Communications, a multimedia news company with locations across ND, SD, MN and WI. The company includes print, online, television, and radio outlets. View Article  |  View Video (story starts at 8:42)

And Speaking of AgWeek ..

When Katie Pinke wrote a piece on Agweek.com about doing away with the National Thanksgiving Turkey pardoning ceremony at the White House, staffer Lara Durben just had to respond to give a different viewpoint. “The National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation brings our nation’s turkey farmers to the media spotlight every year – that’s a good thing and we’re lucky to have it. Let’s continue to use that time wisely,” she wrote. View article

Sharing the Minnesota Turkey Story

University of Minnesota Extension collaborated with our office to share some fun tidbits about Minnesota’s turkey industry in an article titled, “Six Savory Facts About Minnesota Turkey.” The article included information about raising turkeys in barns, biosecurity, turkey eggs, and some great tips for leftovers. Thank you, Minnesota Extension! View article

Did You Happen to See the Recall?

The Friday before Thanksgiving, Jennie-O Turkey Store recalled 91,000+ pounds of ground turkey due to Salmonella Reading concerns. Minnesota Turkey worked with the National Turkey Federation to track misinformation about the recall on social media and use our digital spaces to remind consumers about safe food handling – at Thanksgiving and all year long.

NTF put out a digital press release on its website. “The turkey industry takes food safety very seriously. In July, as soon as USDA and CDC made the turkey industry aware of the possible link between Salmonella Reading illnesses and raw turkey, the industry leapt into action. More than 20 turkey companies representing virtually all U.S. turkey production formed a task force charged with developing strategies to control this strain. Companies participated regardless of whether they sell raw turkey products or whether Salmonella Reading had ever been found in their turkeys.”

To be clear, the CDC has not recommended that consumers avoid turkey. However, the sheer number of ‘clickbait’ headlines on social media was daunting, to say the least. It seemed most media outlets shared information about the recall with a photo of a whole roasted turkey – NOT the ground turkey about which the recall was based.

Minnesota Turkey responded to as many of those clickbait headlines as we saw. And in one particularly troubling news report from KARE-11, staffer Lara Durben wrote a direct response from Minnesota Turkey on KARE’s Facebook page. That post was shared over 1,800 times and viewed by almost 180,000 people – clearly the most “viral” post Minnesota Turkey has ever created! You can read the response here.

We also put together a special food safety podcast with the help of NTF, who lined up special guest Shelly Feist, executive director of the Partnership for Food Safety Education. You can find that podcast (#11 for What the Cluck!) here and on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you find your podcasts.

Food Safety Graphic

Food Safety Message Continues!

Food safety is an important message to send to consumers throughout the year. After all, 22 million turkeys are eaten at Christmas! Just a few simple steps – clean, separate, cook and chill – can help families have a safe and healthy meal when preparing turkey. Minnesota Turkey will continue to tout this message on our social media platforms and utilize a variety of National Turkey Federation resources on this, including informational graphics, fact sheets, and videos.

Whew! What a Thanksgiving season, right? Let us know if you have any questions or would like to follow-up on any information we shared here. You may direct any questions to Lara Durben at ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com or 763/682-2171.

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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