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State Aid Set for Minnesota Turkey Farmers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Rebecca Groos
Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA)
Ph: 763-682-2171 (office)
rgroos@minnesotaturkey.com

Application deadline is December 1, 2020

BUFFALO, Minn. – The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association has been working for months with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) to secure financial assistance to Minnesota turkey farmers impacted by the COVID pandemic. This week, MDA unveiled the Turkey Market Loss Cost-Share Program to help turkey farmers and the industry weather what has been a challenging time for farm families.

“As a third-generation turkey farmer, you think you have seen it all. However, COVID has put a strain on farmers that no one could have prepared for and we are grateful for this aid,” said Paul Kvistad, Minnesota Turkey Growers Association President and farmer from Wood Lake.

MDA’s Turkey Market Loss Cost-Share Program provides financial assistance to farmers who marketed fewer liveweight pounds during March – September 2020 due to COVID-19. To mitigate losses during the pandemic, the industry pivoted quickly and utilized several different options. These decisions meant farmers saw a loss in production – putting a squeeze on farm families.

“While our farmers live with risk every day and roll with the punches, this aid from Governor Tim Walz and Ag Commissioner Thom Petersen is the shot in the arm we needed heading into our most important season – Thanksgiving,” said Sarah Anderson, Executive Director of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association.

Turkey farmers uncertain of whether they qualify for funds should first review the application on the MDA website at: https://www.mda.state.mn.us/turkey-market-loss-cost-share. Questions about securing the necessary liveweight pounds statement from the Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council should be directed to info@minnesotaturkey.com or call 763-682-2171.

All applications must be received by December 1, 2020 at 4:00 p.m.

Funding for the cost-share program was made possible by the federal CARES Act provided to Minnesota by Congress and distributed by Governor Tim Walz.

The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) is a trade group representing over 450 turkey farmers across the state. Many of our farmers come from multi-generational family farms. Our organization also represents turkey processors and industry stakeholders. Together, we advocate for the interests of the Minnesota turkey farmer and industry as a whole.

To learn more about MTGA visit https://minnesotaturkey.com/. Find us on Facebook (@MinnesotaTurkey), Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey), Instagram (MinnesotaTurkey) and YouTube (MinnesotaTurkey).

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Turkey Farmer John Burkel is Elected to the Minnesota House

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Rebecca Groos
Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA)
Ph: 763-682-2171 (office)
rgroos@minnesotaturkey.com

Representative-elect Burkel Begins Term in January

Photo Credit: Burkel For House

BUFFALO, Minn. – Past President of Minnesota Turkey Growers Association and former National Turkey Federation Executive Committee member John Burkel won election to the Minnesota House of Representatives. Burkel, a turkey farmer from Badger, will represent citizens from District 1A which covers the northwest corner of Minnesota including Kittson, Marshall, and Roseau counties and a portion of Pennington county.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to work on the issues important to my area including restarting the economy by creating jobs, keeping taxes and regulations in check, and protecting our way of life,” said Burkel.

Burkel is a fourth-generation turkey farmer. He served 20 years on the Northern Pride board of directors – a grower-owned processing facility in Thief Rivers Falls. Burkel served as the chairman of the Northern Pride board for the last five years – stepping down from the position to run for the Legislature.

According to our research, Burkel is the first turkey farmer to serve in the Minnesota Legislature since 1966.

“We are excited to have Burkel in the Legislature,” said MTGA President Paul Kvistad. “He understands the challenges of turkey farming and agriculture overall.”

Minnesota is the largest producer of turkeys in the nation.  We are also home to the largest hatchery business and second largest processor in the nation.  Turkey farming contributes over $1 billion to the state’s economy and generates more than 26,000 jobs.

“Our turkey farmers put food on the table of Minnesotans and families across the globe,” said MTGA Executive Director Sarah Anderson. “COVID has made this task more challenging and that is why it is so important to have a farmer like John serving in the Legislature and giving voice for rural communities.”

MTGA is a trade association representing over 450 turkey farmers across the state. Many of our growers come from multi-generational family farms. Our organization also represents turkey processors and industry stakeholders. Together, we advocate for the interests of the Minnesota turkey farmer and industry as a whole.

To learn more about MTGA visit https://minnesotaturkey.com/. Find us on Facebook (@MinnesotaTurkey), Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey), Instagram (MinnesotaTurkey) and YouTube (MinnesotaTurkey).

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Isanti County Turkey Farmer Joins Congressman Pete Stauber to Share Coronavirus Challenges

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Rebecca Groos
Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA)
Ph: 763-682-2171 (office)
rgroos@minnesotaturkey.com

Scott Heymer Represented Minnesota Turkey Growers Association

BUFFALO, Minn. – Minnesota Turkey Growers Association member Scott Heymer met with Congressman Pete Stauber at a Stanchfield farm recently to share the challenges presented by the pandemic for turkey farmers across the district and statewide. Joining Heymer and Stauber was Minnesota Turkey Growers Executive Director Sarah Anderson.

“The pandemic has been hard on all families – especially our turkey farm families, said Heymer. “Grateful Congressman Stauber invited us to this event and took the time to listen to our concerns and work for assistance in mitigating our losses.”

A 45-year turkey farming veteran and past Vice President of the Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council, Heymer conveyed the importance of the turkey industry to Minnesota’s economy. Our state produces the most turkeys in the nation and our farmers and stakeholders contribute more than $1 billion to Minnesota’s economy and generate over 26,000 jobs.

Joining the Congressman was the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler. The tour was an opportunity to learn about the operations and conservation practices on the Don and Shaun Fiedler’s farm. Congressman Stauber and Administrator Wheeler discussed opportunities for future partnerships and best conservation practices with those in attendance.

“Minnesota’s turkey industry is constantly working to improve methods and conserve resources,” said MTGA Executive Director Anderson. “Our farmers financially support research at the University of Minnesota on best practices.”

Others on the tour included representatives from corn and pork. A contingency of state lawmakers also joined the group. Senators Mark Koran and Carrie Ruud along with Representatives Sondra Erickson, Brian Johnson, Kurt Daudt, Nathan Nelson, and Dale Lueck were present to hear from farmers.

The MTGA is a trade association representing over 450 turkey growers across the state. Many of our growers come from multi-generational family farms. Our organization also represents turkey processors and industry stakeholders. Together, we advocate for the interests of the Minnesota turkey farmer and industry as a whole.

To learn more about MTGA visit https://minnesotaturkey.com/. Find us on Facebook (@MinnesotaTurkey), Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey), Instagram (MinnesotaTurkey) and YouTube (MinnesotaTurkey).

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Congressional Delegation Aids Minnesota Turkey Farmers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Rebecca Groos
Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA)
Ph: 763-682-2171 (office)
rgroos@minnesotaturkey.com


CFAP 2 Includes Turkey in Pandemic Assistance Funding

BUFFALO, Minn. – The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) is grateful to announce turkey farmers now qualify for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP2) for losses caused by the pandemic. President Trump and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue provided an additional $14 billion for farmers experiencing market disruptions and costs related to COVID.

“We want to thank Congressional members Collin Peterson, Tom Emmer, Angie Craig, Jim Hagedorn, and Senator Tina Smith. They went to bat for turkey farmers at a very stressful time and we appreciate their work in securing assistance for our farm families through advocacy to the USDA,” said Executive Director Sarah Anderson.

Farmers experiencing losses from April until the end of the year can apply for assistance through their local Farm Service Agency.  The closing date for applications is December 11. To apply online or download an application, producers can visit the USDA website at farmers.gov/cfap.

Minnesota ranks first nationwide in turkey production. As the state with the most independent turkey producers, securing CFAP legislation to include these farmers was of utmost important to the MTGA.

Although it appears breeding livestock and contract growers are excluded from CFAP2, MTGA continues to work for coverage for those farmers. We will also continue to push for expansion of indemnity coverage for turkey industry stakeholders.

MTGA is a trade association representing over 450 turkey growers across the state. Many of our growers come from multi-generational family farms. Our organization also represents turkey processors and other industry stakeholders. Together, we advocate for the interests of the Minnesota turkey farmer and industry as a whole.

To learn more about MTGA visit https://minnesotaturkey.com/. Find us on Facebook (@MinnesotaTurkey), Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey), Instagram (MinnesotaTurkey) and YouTube (MinnesotaTurkey).

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Minnesota Turkey Farmers’ Turkey To Go Booth Excited for Round Two of Minnesota State Fair Food Parade

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Rebecca Groos
Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA)
Ph: 763-682-2171 (office)
rgroos@minnesotaturkey.com


Hunger Solutions Will See Benefit

BUFFALO, Minn. – Minnesota turkey farmers’ Turkey To Go was a hit at the first Minnesota State Fair Food Parade. In total, Turkey To Go sold roughly 16,050 pounds of turkey over the 13-day celebration. Turkey To Go is ready to serve up more tasty turkey for round two of the food parade set to happen the first two weekends in October.

“We are so grateful for the support of Minnesota turkey farmers at the Minnesota State Fair,” said Paul Kvistad, Minnesota Turkey Growers Association President. “The revenue generated will help us continue our partnership with Hunger Solutions and put food on the table of all Minnesotans.”

For 12 years, Minnesota turkey farmers have donated a portion of the proceeds from their Turkey To Go booth to Hunger Solutions. Hunger Solutions is a nonprofit dedicated to ending hunger by providing long-term solutions to families experiencing food insecurity. In all, Minnesota turkey farmers have donated $108,000 to help end hunger.

In the October Minnesota State Food Parade, loyal Turkey To Go fans will get their shot at getting their favorite Giant Juicy Turkey Sandwich, Slow-Roasted Turkey Drumstick, or take home frozen pulled turkey to enjoy all year. At this version of the food parade, fans will be entered into a lottery system for distribution of tickets.

The next food parade will take place Thursday through Sunday on October 1-4 and October 8-11. To register for tickets, please visit the Minnesota State Fair website at: https://www.mnstatefair.org/food-parade-2020/. Registration for the ticket lottery is open now through noon Thursday Sept. 17. To register, go to: https://event.etix.com/ticket/p/2259375.

The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) is a trade group representing over 450 turkey farmers across the state. Many of our farmers come from multi-generational family farms. Our organization also represents turkey processors and industry stakeholders. Together, we advocate for the interests of the Minnesota turkey farmer and industry as a whole.  Our farmers started the Turkey To Go booth at the Minnesota State Fair in 1958 and have been serving delicious turkey ever since.

To learn more about MTGA visit https://minnesotaturkey.com/. For information on Turkey To Go visit http://turkeytogo.com/.

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Minnesota Turkey Meeting Features COVID Aid to Farmers Discussion

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Rebecca Groos
Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA)
Ph: 763-682-2171 (office)
rgroos@minnesotaturkey.com


House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson gave an update on Congressional Action

BUFFALO, Minn. – For the first time in their 81-year history, Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) and Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council (MTRPC) held their annual meetings virtually. MTGA and MTRPC leadership provided updates regarding their efforts to support fellow turkey growers and the industry.

“Our organizations put a lot of time and resources into research, workforce development, and education that benefits the entire turkey industry,” said Sarah Anderson, MTGA Executive Director. “The annual meetings give us an opportunity to report on our successes and receive feedback from our members for the future. The strong attendance shows our members value these updates and the new format allowed for greater participation.”

Congressman Collin Peterson who represents the 7th Congressional District – an area that represents many turkey growers – was the featured guest speaker. Peterson briefly spoke on his involvement with facilitating COVID-19 relief for turkey growers and the next COVID aid bill.

“The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program payment is based on how much damage was done by the coronavirus,” said Congressman Peterson. “There were a number of folks who didn’t get treated correctly for the program, in my opinion, including turkey growers.”

For the next round of COVID-19 related assistance, Peterson has drafted language giving U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue the authority to compensate producers for euthanizing animals – much like what growers experience during times of disease outbreaks. In his speech, Peterson also said one of the outstanding issues is that payments are limited to independent producers.

“There is going to be some effort to clarify this over at the Senate and if there is better language, I am all for it and I’ll do whatever I can to make sure that ends up in the final deal,” said Peterson. MTGA is a nonprofit trade organization that began in 1939 with a mission to foster a successful turkey industry in Minnesota. The state ranks number one for turkey production in the U.S. with its 450 turkey farmers. Minnesota has the most family-owned turkey farms of any state in the U.S. and many are fourth, fifth, or sixth generation farmers.

To learn more about MTGA visit https://minnesotaturkey.com/. Find us on Facebook (@MinnesotaTurkey), Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey), Instagram (MinnesotaTurkey) and YouTube (MinnesotaTurkey).

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Minnesota Turkey welcomes new Executive Director Sarah Anderson

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Rebecca Groos
Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA)
Ph: 763-682-2171 (office)
rgroos@minnesotaturkey.com

 

(March 17, 2020) BUFFALO, Minn. – The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) and the Minnesota Turkey Research & Promotion Council (MTRPC) are proud to announce and welcome Sarah Anderson to serve as their new Executive Director.

Anderson previously served as a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives from 2007 to 2019. In her role as a legislative leader and Chair of the State Government Finance Committee, Anderson was recognized for her ability to work across the aisle to find efficiencies in state government.

Anderson most recently served as the Executive Director of the Literacy Matters Foundation where she led strategic planning, streamlined organizational finances and implemented restructuring.

As one of thirteen children growing up on her family’s farm near Atwater, Anderson recalls the valuable work ethic farm life instilled in her. Her agriculture background also led her to join the staff of former Speaker of the House Steve Sviggum, where she promoted the importance of the agricultural community to the state of Minnesota.

“Sarah Anderson is a proven leader with advocacy experience and roots in agriculture,” said Paul Kvistad, MTGA board President. “Her agriculture background and professional experience make her an ideal fit for our association.”

Anderson currently resides in Plymouth, Minn., and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth. She will join MTGA on April 6, 2020.

The MTGA is a trade association that advocates for the interests of the Minnesota turkey industry. MTGA members include independent and integrated turkey growers, turkey processors and breeders, and allied industry members. Its affiliated organization, the MTRPC, oversees the Minnesota turkey checkoff funds to underwrite turkey research and promote public education regarding the turkey industry.

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About the MTGA:

Minnesota Turkey Growers Association enhances the success of the Minnesota turkey industry through member engagement, strong advocacy with legislators and public outreach.

About the MTRPC:

Minnesota Turkey Research & Promotion Council discovers and shares healthy practices for its members and and consumers by advancing strong research and public education.

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Minnesota Turkey celebrates Thanksgiving with donation to Hunger Solutions Minnesota, visits with Governor Walz

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Rebecca Groos, MTGA Program Assistant
rgroos@minnesotaturkey.com or 763-682-2171

MTGA announces donation of $11,000 toward turkey product purchases to Hunger Solutions Minnesota

ST. PAUL, MINN. (NOVEMBER 27, 2019) – Governor Tim Walz continued the time-honored tradition – dating back to the 1940s – of kicking off the Thanksgiving holiday with the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) at the state capitol today. Also, in special attendance was a lightweight hen (female) turkey, raised near Melrose, Minn.

“I wish all Minnesotans a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, filled with family, food, and
football,” said Governor Tim Walz. “As Governor of the top turkey producing state in the nation, I encourage all Minnesotans to serve Minnesota-grown turkeys at Thanksgiving this year.”

At the event, MTGA President Paul Kvistad announced the donation of approximately $11,000 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.

“Thanksgiving has always been a special holiday for Minnesota’s turkey farmers – all about tradition,” said Kvistad. “Today, I am grateful to be able to announce that the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association is continuing our tradition of donating turkey to Hunger Solutions Minnesota.”

“As we give thanks this week, I encourage Minnesotans to volunteer or make a donation to their local food shelf so more Minnesota families can enjoy a warm Thanksgiving dinner,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “There are more than three million visits to food shelters across the state every year, and many of the visits are children. I’m grateful to Hunger Solutions for their work to end hunger in Minnesota, and to the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association for their generosity this holiday season.”

Paul Kvistad and his family raise about 240,000 turkeys annually on their farm, Paul Kvistad Poultry, near Wood Lake, Minn. Broken down, the farm raises six flocks of 40,000 lightweight hens each year. The family also farms 1,500 acres of corn and soybeans.

The MTGA is extra thankful this year when considering the recently received positive news in the global export market.

“The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association is thankful for the mid November announcement sharing that China lifted their ban on imports of U.S. poultry products,” said Kvistad. “Reopening this market is excellent news for the turkey industry. China was the second-largest export market for U.S. turkey products prior to the 2015 ban.”

Since 2001, MTGA has donated approximately 297,000 pounds of turkey to various areas of the state, which will feed 371,250 people in Minnesota. That’s enough turkey to feed Kvistad’s home county (Yellow Medicine County) almost 38 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 Fair.

Hunger Solutions Minnesota, a comprehensive hunger relief organization that works to end hunger in Minnesota, will coordinate the purchase and distribution of the turkey. One in 12 Minnesota households struggle 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 farm families in Minnesota raise about 42 million birds annually. Minnesota remains steadfast at the number one position in the U.S. for turkey production.

Current U.S. turkey production stands at almost 245 million in 2018 – which means Minnesota farmers raise a little more than 18 percent of all U.S. turkeys. Approximately 88 percent of all Americans will eat turkey at Thanksgiving, according to the National Turkey Federation.

The 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 more than $800 million in economic activity for the state.

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About MTGA
MTGA, located in Buffalo, Minn., is a nonprofit trade organization that began in 1939 with a mission to foster a successful turkey industry in Minnesota. The state ranks #1 for turkey production and processing in the U.S. with its 450 turkey farmers raising approximately 42 million turkeys annually. Minnesota has the most family-owned turkey farms of any state in the U.S. and many of these turkey producers are 4rd, 5th and even 6th generation farmers. For more information, visit www.minnesotaturkey.com or www.facebook.com/MinnesotaTurkey. You can also find Minnesota Turkey on Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey), Pinterest (www.pinterest.com/MinnesotaTurkey), and Instagram (@MinnesotaTurkey).

About Hunger Solutions Minnesota
Hunger Solutions Minnesota brings people together to find real solutions to hunger through partnerships, programs, and public policy because food is a basic human right. We work with more than 300 food shelves, seven food banks, and leaders in agriculture, health care, business, and government because hunger can only be solved if we all work together. Learn more about Hunger Solutions Minnesota at hungersolutions.org.

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Minnesota propane supply and demand update

November 7, 2019

MTGA thanks the Minnesota Propane Association for cooperating with us to share the following information with our turkey grower members.

For those who have not heard, there has been great demand for propane in Minnesota. Farmers are drying record amounts of corn and therefore, consuming record amounts of propane.

According to the Minnesota Propane Association, propane supply is at very high and near record inventory levels in our country. Propane member companies are aware of the situation and are doing their best to meet the supply and demand.

Below, the Minnesota Propane Association shares the background of the situation so turkey growers are aware and can prepare yourself and your turkey barns for the future.

  • Propane has been shipped into Minnesota over the past days at record rates.
  • In an average November, propane marketers in Minnesota use 190 transport loads of propane per day for the state. This year we are shipping nearly 300 transports per day.
  • However, the cold spring, late planting and less than ideal growing season has produced a corn crop that is higher in moisture and in need of large amounts of propane for drying.
  • Minnesota is experiencing temperatures 10 -15 degrees below normal. We are experiencing December weather in early November. This has added to the gas needed for crop drying and heating homes and farms.
  • Providing propane for home heat and animal confinement remain our number one focus, but the industry will continue to seek all the propane supply we can to fulfill the crop drying needs of Minnesota farmers.

“We have felt it on our farm, and we’ve had to be aware of the situation to not let our turkey barns run out of gas while we’re drying corn,” said Paul Kvistad, MTGA board president and a turkey grower from Wood Lake, Minn. “We’ve been in contact with our supplier to know when the next load is available. Locally, we’ve been getting gas out of Iowa, Kan., Okla..”

The MTGA wants to stress the importance of this topic and make you aware of the situation. MTGA encourages you to talk to your propane supplier to prepare your future inventory. Please realize home heat and animal confinement remain the number one focus for propane usage; therefore, corn drying will more so rely on the speed in which suppliers can ship propane. If you have any questions, contact the Minnesota Propane Association at info@mnpropane.org or call 763-633-4271. Learn more propane updates at https://www.mnpropane.org/.

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An open letter to the Minnesota turkey industry

Over the past several months, the boards of directors of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association and the Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council have been engaged in the process of restructuring the two organizations with the intent to refocus our efforts on the interests and needs of the Minnesota turkey industry. This process started as the direct result of several members expressing concern regarding the current and future direction of our two organizations.

Immediately after the summer meeting concluded in June, longtime Executive Director Steve Olson resigned from his position.  Not long after, in mid-September, Lara Durben and Teresa Sorenson submitted their resignations and have elected to move on to other opportunities. We appreciate all that they have done for our organizations and the Minnesota turkey industry and wish them well in their new endeavors.  The sudden resignation of these three individuals has left a temporary void regarding the staffing levels in the office but at the same time has provided us with the opportunity to restructure our missions from the ground up.

The members of the MTGA and MTRPC boards remain committed to the Minnesota turkey industry and are looking for ways to streamline our efforts and budget while remaining focused on the priorities of research, grower education, and supporting our growers. We have hired an outside consulting firm to guide us through the process of refocusing our goals in order to come up with a long-range plan.  Once achieved, the process of searching for an executive director to fit our new needs and direction will be one of the primary goals.

We are moving as quickly and diligently as we can and ask our members to please be patient with us as we continue through our strategic planning process and executive director search. We will be reaching out to our members and other key stakeholders throughout this process; please speak up and let us know how our organizations can better serve our industry.

Sincerely,

The Board of Directors of the MTGA
The Board of Directors of the MTRPC