Gene Brinton, Willmar, Minn., Honored with MTGA’s Most Prestigious Award

News Release

For immediate release

Contact:  Lara Durben

Phone:     (763) 682-2171


(Buffalo, MN )  … The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) presented its prestigious Ranelius Award Gene Brinton, Willmar, Minn., at its annual meeting on March 19 in Saint Paul, Minn.

“The Ranelius Award is the most prestigious honor given by the MTGA,” said John Zimmerman, 2013-14 MTGA President. “It signifies leadership and dedication to the industry based on contributions made to enhance Minnesota’s turkey industry, and Gene Brinton is well deserved of this special honor.”

Gene is originally from Ellsworth, Iowa, where he was raised on the family farm that he still owns today.  His lifelong involvement with the care and management of turkeys began as a young boy in the 1940s while helping his father and his brothers raise turkeys on their farms.

Gene’s career has always been dedicated to the turkey industry. His first job after getting married was working for Don “Chick” Thoreson at the Ellsworth Turkey Hatchery and from there Gene moved on to work for turkey nutrition based companies while also raising turkeys as an independent grower.  Several years later, Gene was given the opportunity to join Farmland CO-OP as a turkey health and nutrition specialist and remained with Farmland until the late 60s when he moved his family from Ellsworth, Iowa to Willmar, Minnesota to become a sales representative for the I.D. Russell Company.

In the late 1970s, Gene decided it was time to pursue his lifelong dream to have his own company and in 1980 founded Brinton Veterinary Supply, Inc. (BVS), a veterinary supply company specializing in turkey health and husbandry products.  Over the next several years Gene expanded the company to include nutrition consulting, a federally licensed veterinary vaccine production laboratory (Brinton Laboratories), and a diagnostic laboratory (Brinton Veterinary Services later known as Poultry Veterinary Centers).

Through the years, Gene has always been dedicated to developing effective quality health products for the turkey industry and received a patent for a product that reduces diarrhea in turkeys, acquired federal licenses for vaccine products, and also established multiple trademark turkey health products.

Gene continued to successfully lead Brinton Veterinary Supply until his retirement in 2001 when BVS was renamed Best Veterinary Solutions and was purchased by Wes Thoreson and Randy Olsen who continue to offer quality health and husbandry products to the turkey industry.

Although retired, Gene continues to be active in the turkey grower community and enjoys participating in associated golf outings and attending the Midwest Poultry Federation Convention each year, but most of all he enjoys seeing the many friends he has made over the years. Gene and his wife Nola have been married for 62 years and have two children, Jackie Brinton Mourning and Dr.  M. Kim Brinton, both of whom have worked alongside Gene in the turkey industry.

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.


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 2013. Minnesota has the most independent turkey farmers of any state in the U.S. For further details, visit ,, find us on Facebook ( and follow us on Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey)