MN Turkey Council Board Election Results Announced





For immediate release

Contact: Lara Durben, (763) 682-2171

Directors Hail from Redwood Falls, Roseau, Little Falls, Willmar and Cokato

(Buffalo, MN)…Five people have been elected to the 16-member Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council (MTRPC) Board of Directors according to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), the agency responsible for conducting and certifying agricultural promotion council elections. The election was conducted by mail-in ballot in January.

The newly elected directors are:

Region 1

Kent Meschke, Little Falls

Region 2

Phil Munson, Cokato

At Large

Duane Jaenicke, Roseau

Gene Brownfield, Redwood Falls

Robert Orsten, Willmar

Phil Munson is the lone newcomer on the Board; the other elected members are incumbents. The newly elected board members will serve three-year terms and all assumed their seats on March 1.These directors will also serve on the Board of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA).

The board meets about eight times per year to guide MTRPC’s activities. Board members also serve as advocates for Minnesota’s turkey industry. Turkey producers pay a percentage of their sale proceeds to MTRPC, which uses those funds to pay for promotion, communication and research activities aimed at increasing producer profitability.

Elected directors are listed alphabetically below, along with biographical information:

Gene Brownfield, Redwood Falls

Gene Brownfield has been in the turkey industry for 49 years and currently raises 215,000 toms and 636,000 hens on farms located in Brown and Renville counties. His son runs the family’s crops operation, which includes corn, soybeans, peas and sugar beets.

Gene currently serves as a director for Prairie Fire Ministries, a director for Redwood Area Christian Radio, and treasurer for Cornerstone Mens Ministry.He and his wife Janette have two children, Dean, who farms with Gene, and Jayne, who lives in Bloomington. They also have two grandsons.Gene’s hobbies include fishing on Mille Lacs Lake and being very active in church activities, especially mens’ programming.

This is Gene’s 2nd term on the Board.

Duane Jaenicke, Roseau

Duane Jaenicke, Roseau, runs P & J Farms along with his son, Scott. The operation raises approximately 100,000 to 130,000 hens for Northern Pride Cooperative.

The turkey business runs in the Jaenicke family – When he was growing up, Duane remembers the small flocks of turkeys his father raised, and today, Duane’s brother also raises turkeys. Duane began his P & J Farms venture in 1992.

For many years, Duane taught management education courses at Northland Community and Technical College and was named the 2001 Outstanding Ag Educator by the State Association of Management and Ag Eductors in Minnesota. He retired from teaching in June 2005. Duane is active in his local church, has served on the church board, and currently is in charge of the cemetery. He and his wife, Bev, have three sons. In his spare time, Duane enjoys fishing and camping.

This is Duane’s 3rd term on the Board and he currently serves as Vice President of the Board.

Kent Meschke, Little Falls

Kent Meschke, Little Falls, owns and operates Meschke Poultry, which produces around 700,000 light hens per year that are marketed through Northern Pride Cooperative. The operation consists of brood and grow out facilities and a feed manufacturing facility in Little Falls.

Kent completed a degree in business administration from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and after college, worked for several years in finance. He returned to the farm in 1985 to work with his father (Garth) and brother (Scott). With the injury of his brother and the retirement of his father, he became the sole proprietor of the business. He has experience in all areas of turkey production, from brooding to nutrition.

Kent is serving his 3rd term on the MTGA-MTRPC Board and currently serves as Past President.

One of Kent’s favorite hobbies is to go flying. He also enjoys hot rods, computers and photography. He is the current secretary/treasurer for the Little Falls Pilots Association, a local flying club. Kent and his wife, Lynn, have two daughters: Tanya and Katie.

Phil Munson, Cokato

Phil Munson is a third generation turkey grower from Cokato and has worked in the turkey industry his entire life.His grandfather Floyd started Munson Feed Company in 1935 and raised his first flock of (bronze) turkeys in 1959.

Phil graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1986 with a Bachelors degree in Agricultural Business Administration.He worked for West Central Turkeys, Earl B. Olson Farms and Peterson Turkey Hatchery before returning home.Today Phil and his father Beryl raise 7 million pounds of toms annually (at Howard Lake).This is Phil’s first term on the MTGA-MTRPC Board of Directors.

Phil’s wife Jodi teaches kindergarten and their two sons Aaron and Ben attend college.He enjoys spending time with his family and fishing in his spare time.

Robert Orsten, Willmar

Robert Orsten has worked 19 years in the turkey industry. With farms in Kandoyohi and Swift counties, his family raises 70,000 breeder turkeys and also grows corn, beans and hay.

Robert served as Board Secretary for two years of Community Christian School and is currently the Board President.He and his wife, Rochelle, have five children: Talia, Autumn, RJ, Brady and James.His hobbies include boating, camping, spending time with family and friends, raising Hereford cattle and his kids’ sporting events.

This is Rob’s 2nd term on the Board.

About MTGA

The MTGA, founded in 1939 and located in Buffalo, MN, is a nonprofit association dedicated to fostering a successful Minnesota turkey industry and its ability to make positive contributions to consumers, the economy, the environment and its members. Minnesota is currently ranked #1 for turkey production in the U.S. with its 250 turkey farmers raising approximately 45 million turkeys in 2010. Minnesota has the most independent turkey farmers of any state in the U.S. For further details, visit


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