MTGA & MTRPC Announces Several Scholarship Recipients


CONTACT: Lara Durben (Email | 763-682-2171)

(Buffalo, MN )  … The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) and the Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council (MTRPC) recently announced recipients in two scholarship programs.

Evonik Implements Scholarship for HPAI-Impacted Families

Evonik Corporation, a worldwide leader in amino acid production and sales, and long-time Minnesota Turkey Growers Association member, implemented a scholarship program called the Evonik Cares Scholarship designed for children of turkey farmers affected by the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) outbreak that hit Minnesotaís turkey industry in the spring of 2015.

The initial idea came from Evonikís Vice President, Pete Hohl, after hearing of all the losses turkey farmers were incurring in Minnesota.  Hohl gave Gregg Veldman, Senior Account Manager and Brian Foshee, North America Sales Manager, the charter to find a way to help families affected by the HPAI outbreak. Veldman and Foshee came up with the idea of a college scholarship, fully knowing the strain that a college education can put on families.

“Minnesotaís turkey farmers and their families experienced the largest foreign animal disease outbreak in U.S. history, creating not only economic hardship for the farms directly impacted by HPAI but also a large emotional toll for all of the families involved,” said Gregg Veldman. “This scholarship program is a way for our company to give back to the turkey industry that is so vital to Minnesota.”

Veldman worked with the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association to develop and distribute the scholarship.

The scholarship was awarded to the following recipients in the amount of $2,5000 each:

Melanie Adrian – a freshman at Ridgewater College, pursuing a degree in Veterinary Technology.  Melanieís parents are Jonathan and Brenda Adrian

Austin Buysse – a sophomore at Dakota Wesleyan University, pursuing a degree in Sports Management with a minor in Communications. Austinís parents are Kevin and Michelle Buysse.

Autumn Orsten – a junior at Bethel University, pursuing a degree in Biokinetics ñ Exercise Science.  Autumnís parents are Robert and Rochelle Orsten.

Andrea Burkel – A sophomore at University of North Dakota, pursuing a degree in Elementary Education.  Andreaís parents are John and Joni Burkel.

Ranelius Scholarship Honors Students

The long-time annual MTGA and MTRPC Ranelius Scholarship focuses on encouraging applicants who are enrolled in a post-secondary educational institution to prepare for a career within the poultry industry.  This year’s scholarship recipients include:

Eden Norton – a senior at Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg High School.  Eden plans to attend North Dakota State University in the fall and major in Ag Education with a minor in Animal Science.  Her parents both work for MTGA members, Dooleyís Petroleum and Jennie-O Turkey Store.

Dakota Tjaden –  a senior at Willmar High School.  Dakota plans to attend North Dakota State University in the fall and receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering.  His grandfather, uncle, and parents have all worked for Jennie-O Turkey Store.

Hunter Kvistad – a senior at Lakeview Public High School.  Hunter plans to attend Iowa State University and receive of Bachelor of Science degree in Biology.  His parents raise turkeys in Woodlake, MN.

Makayla Kuhn –  a senior at Randolph High School.  At this time, Makayla is undecided where she will attend college in the fall, but has been accepted to St. Olaf, Augustana, and Concordia.  She intends on receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology.  Her grandfather raises turkeys and she currently works at Ferndale Market.


About MTGA

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 450 turkey farmers raise approximately 46 million turkeys annually. Minnesota has the most independent turkey farmers of any state in the U.S.


MTRPC is the oldest check-off based commodity organization in Minnesota, celebrating 50 years in 2015. Since 1965, the MTRPC has worked diligently to encourage consumers to eat more turkey year-round, sponsor innovative turkey research and educate a variety of audiences about the benefits of turkey. Programming at the MTRPC is funded by a voluntary grower checkoff program.

For further details on both organizations, visit , www.minnesotaturkey.com, find us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MinnesotaTurkey) and follow us on Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey).