Turkey Farmer Honored with MTGA’s Most Prestigious Award

For immediate release

Contact:  Lara Durben

Phone:   (763) 682-2171

E-mail:   lara@minnesotaturkey.com

Turkey Farmer Honored with MTGA’s Most Prestigious Award

(Buffalo, MN )  … The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) presented its prestigious Ranelius Award to long-time turkey farmer Gilbert Klaphake, Melrose, Minn., at its annual meeting on March 14 in Saint Paul, Minn.

“The Ranelius Award is the most prestigious honor given by the MTGA,” said Jeff Lindell, 2011-12 MTGA President. “It signifies leadership and dedication to the industry based on contributions made to enhance Minnesota’s turkey industry, and Gilbert Klaphake is well deserved of this special honor.”

“This year’s recipient’s love of farming began when he was a boy helping his dad on their small dairy farm in central Minnesota,” said MTGA Executive Director. “The oldest son of eight children, Gilbert Klaphake learned early the benefit of a hard day’s work.”

Later as an adult and after owning his own dairy farm for 10 years, a shortage of local land to purchase forced Gilbert to look at other options. In the mid-1960s, hogs drew his attention for a bit, but after discussing the possibility of raising turkeys with a friend, he thought this might be a better way to go. “And they rest, as they say, is history,” said Olson.

Gilbert raised his first flock of turkeys in 1966, continuing to expand every year after that. In 1972, his oldest son joined him, and the two started making their own feed in a small, privately-owned feed mill. During this same time, he purchased more farms along with his two brothers and other partners.

“As his business grew, he made his family was his first priority,” said Olson. “This has truly been a family business as each generation has helped in one way or another, from the beginning through today.”

“In 1980, another son joined the business and since that time, they’ve expanded their farms to raise about 28 million pounds of turkey and 38,000 tons of feed annually. “Plus, they’ve added a 3rd generation with two grandsons joining the business to carry on the legacy started by this pioneer,” said Olson.

Gilbert served on the MTGA Board of Directors for six years; was an advocate of the University of Minnesota turkey research program; and belonged to the University of Minnesota President’s Club. He also was active in Melrose for many years, serving on several boards and the Grove Township Planning and Zoning Commission.

“Gilbert still comes to the office most days so he can keep his number crunching talent sharp and to continue to mentor his sons and grandsons,” said Olson.

Gilbert and his wife of 57 years, Sally, have four children, 9 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren.

“On behalf of MTGA, I want to thank Gilbert for his service and dedication to Minnesota’s turkey industry,” said Olson. “He is truly an inspiration and helped shape our industry into what it is today – a powerhouse of family farmers who raise more turkeys than any other state in the U.S.”

The Ranelius Award is named for Sven Ranelius, a founding father of the MTGA, often described as a quiet, unselfish person who was very dedicated to the turkey industry in

Minnesota. Nominees are evaluated on two central criteria: their contribution to the industry over a period of time; and the quality of that contribution.

For more information on the MTGA or its Ranelius Award program, please contact Lara Durben at 763/682-2171 or lara@minnesotaturkey.com.


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 46 million turkeys in 2011. Minnesota has the most independent turkey farmers of any state in the U.S. For further details, visit www.minnesotaturkey.com.


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