Episode #13: Holiday Baking and Cooking with the “EGGsperts”

What The Cluck! - the podcast of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association and the Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota

In the latest episode of “What The Cluck!”, host Steve Olson talks with Jim Chakeres, Executive Vice President of the Ohio Poultry Association about the Incredible Edible Egg during the holidays. You’ll learn baking and cooking tips for preparing holiday recipes, the versatility of eggs in the kitchen, food safety when handling eggs and the multi-state Dish On Eggs Holiday Campaign.


Episode #11 – Keeping Your Food Safe: Common Sense Tips & Information

What The Cluck! - the podcast of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association and the Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota

In the latest episode of “What The Cluck!”, host Steve Olson talks with Shelley Feist, executive director of the Partnership for Food Safety Education. You’ll learn how to prepare a tasty and safe turkey for Thanksgiving Day, along with common sense tips and information for cooking your meals safely all year long.

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.


Episode #12 – Antibiotics’ role to enhance poultry health

What The Cluck! - the podcast of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association and the Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota

In the latest episode of “What The Cluck!”, host Steve Olson is joined by three experts well-versed in antibiotic use in poultry production including: Dr. Jill Nezworski, a poultry veterinarian from the Blue House Veterinary in Buffalo Lake, Minn., Dr. Amanda Beaudoin, Director of One Health Antibiotic Stewardship at the Minnesota Department of Health and Dr. Randall Singer, professor of Epidemiology at the University of Minnesota’s Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences. Listen in as the three discuss judicious use of antibiotics in poultry, what antibiotic stewardship means and how it is practiced on poultry farms. The four also discuss regulations, antibiotic resistance, One Health and research surrounding antibiotics in poultry.


Episode #10 – Thanksgiving Turkey Prep

What The Cluck! - the podcast of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association and the Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota

In the latest episode of “What The Cluck!”, host Steve Olson is joined by Master Chef Ron DeSantis from the Hormel Food Corporation. With Thanksgiving around the corner, Chef Ron discusses turkey preparation, food safety and great methods to cook the perfect turkey for your Thanksgiving meal. Lastly, learn Chef Ron’s advice on what to do with delicious turkey leftovers and some of his favorite turkey seasonings.



Episode #9 – Scoop on Poop!

What The Cluck! - the podcast of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association and the Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota

In this episode, host Steve Olson is joined by Dr. Melissa Wilson, Assistant Professor of Manure Management and Water Quality at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Sally Noll, an Extension Poultry Specialist from the University of Minnesota, and Paul Kvistad, Vice President of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association. The four discuss the importance of manure to farmers and the soil, its nutritional content for crops, manure management, and current and pending manure research.


Episode #8 – Understanding A Greater Minnesota

What The Cluck! - the podcast of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association and the Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota

In this episode, host Steve Olson is joined by Dr. Adam Birr, Executive Director of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association and the Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion Council and Dave Preisler, CEO of the Minnesota Pork Board. The three discuss A Greater Minnesota; what it’s about, how agriculture impacts all Minnesotans, and how you as a voter can ask your legislators to support Minnesota agriculture. Learn more about AGM at www.farmandfoodmn.org.


Episode #7 – All About FFA

What The Cluck! - the podcast of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association and the Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota

In this episode, host Steve Olson shares information about FFA – what this organization is and what it means to both the students involved and the communities and schools in which it resides. Listen in as Minnesota State FFA Advisor Joel Larson and National Officer Candidate Katie Benson chat with Steve about all the opportunities and programs offered with FFA.


Episode #6 – Egg Farmer Bruce Dooyema on World Egg Day and Award-Winning Turkey Chili

What The Cluck! - the podcast of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association and the Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota

In the latest episode of “What The Cluck!”, host Steve Olson is joined by egg farmer Bruce Dooyema from the CenterFresh Egg Group for a discussion about World Egg Day and his company’s involvement in creating opportunities in Mozambique and other countries through egg and chicken farming. Plus, Garrett Doucette from End of the Line Turkey Farm in Swanville, MN, talks about his experience as the representative from the Midwest in the 2nd Annual Hormel Chili Firehouse Contest in New York City. Garrett’s Creamy Turkey Chili recipe didn’t win the contest but is definitely a winner in our books!

Start a Ripple of Agricultural Change | 2018 AASC

Lettuce, turkeys and a logger share a lot in common when they convene together to discuss the successes and challenges each face as leaders in their industries. These stories and several others were shared at the eighth annual Ag and Animal Science Conference (AASC) at the MinnWest Technology Campus in Willmar, Minn.

Agriculture and animal science stakeholders across the Midwest heard a collective narrative on the economics of agriculture, what various companies are doing to face today’s agricultural challenges and sharing the story of modern agriculture in a manner that evokes positive change in outside opinions toward agriculture.

The day kicked off with Tony DeLisi from Avalanche Consulting presenting on “Regional Collaboration in Agriculture and Animal Science.” DeLisi discussed the current economics of agriculture and explained how the industry has a greater impact when various groups join forces in collaboration and education as seen in the KC Animal Health Corridor.

AASC Conference \ Minnwest Technology Campus

This year’s theme was storytelling and was filled with various storytellers sharing their company’s history, expansions and where they’re heading into the future. Those who presented include: Natasha Mortenson, Community Relations from Riverview LLP, Kevin Ortenblad, Founder with Lettuce Abound, Kevin Lynch, VP of Operations at Aviagen, and MTGA farmer member Erica Sawatzke, Owner at Oakdale Farm.

AASC Conference \ Minnwest Technology Campus

Mortenson shared the dairy perspective of increasing Riverview’s size while respecting their company mission of teamwork and building personal strengths of their employees. Ortenblad and his family grow aeroponic lettuce that is sold for a premium and discussed the challenges of breaking into the competitive food market. Lynch explained the history of growing and merging companies to create Select Genetics (Aviagen) and some future goals as they continue to be a leader in turkey breeding. Sawatzke shared her family farm’s history, their daily operations and the challenges farming brings each day.

After lunch, a panel discussed “Perspectives on the Value & Impact of Agriculture.” MTGA’s own Lara Durben and farmer member Loren Brey were two of the panelists. A few questions brought to the panel revolved around social media, challenges each faces in their careers and how to be impactful withagricultural messaging.

AASC Conference \ Minnwest Technology Campus

The day concluded with keynote speaker Bruce Vincent President of Environomics who paralleled the challenges faced by the logging industry to agriculture’s modern issues and how the timber industry learned to work with a concerned public through impactful legislation and messaging. Secondly, Vincent shared how activism matters in business. Getting involved locally and starting a ripple of change is the best way to make a lasting difference.

AASC Conference \ Minnwest Technology Campus

AASC is an annual conference held at the Minnwest Technology Campus in Willmar, Minn. The event aims to bring the region’s top agriculture and animal science stakeholders to convene to discuss some of the industry’s most pressing issues. Registration is complimentary for qualifying ag professionals. For information on the 2019 AASC, visit http://www.mnwesttechnology.com/asc/.