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State Aid Set for Minnesota Turkey Farmers


Rebecca Groos
Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA)
Ph: 763-682-2171 (office)

Application deadline is December 1, 2020

BUFFALO, Minn. – The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association has been working for months with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) to secure financial assistance to Minnesota turkey farmers impacted by the COVID pandemic. This week, MDA unveiled the Turkey Market Loss Cost-Share Program to help turkey farmers and the industry weather what has been a challenging time for farm families.

“As a third-generation turkey farmer, you think you have seen it all. However, COVID has put a strain on farmers that no one could have prepared for and we are grateful for this aid,” said Paul Kvistad, Minnesota Turkey Growers Association President and farmer from Wood Lake.

MDA’s Turkey Market Loss Cost-Share Program provides financial assistance to farmers who marketed fewer liveweight pounds during March – September 2020 due to COVID-19. To mitigate losses during the pandemic, the industry pivoted quickly and utilized several different options. These decisions meant farmers saw a loss in production – putting a squeeze on farm families.

“While our farmers live with risk every day and roll with the punches, this aid from Governor Tim Walz and Ag Commissioner Thom Petersen is the shot in the arm we needed heading into our most important season – Thanksgiving,” said Sarah Anderson, Executive Director of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association.

Turkey farmers uncertain of whether they qualify for funds should first review the application on the MDA website at: Questions about securing the necessary liveweight pounds statement from the Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council should be directed to or call 763-682-2171.

All applications must be received by December 1, 2020 at 4:00 p.m.

Funding for the cost-share program was made possible by the federal CARES Act provided to Minnesota by Congress and distributed by Governor Tim Walz.

The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) is a trade group representing over 450 turkey farmers across the state. Many of our farmers come from multi-generational family farms. Our organization also represents turkey processors and industry stakeholders. Together, we advocate for the interests of the Minnesota turkey farmer and industry as a whole.

To learn more about MTGA visit Find us on Facebook (@MinnesotaTurkey), Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey), Instagram (MinnesotaTurkey) and YouTube (MinnesotaTurkey).


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Minnesota Turkey celebrates Thanksgiving with donation to Hunger Solutions Minnesota, visits with Governor Walz


Rebecca Groos, MTGA Program Assistant or 763-682-2171

MTGA announces donation of $11,000 toward turkey product purchases to Hunger Solutions Minnesota

ST. PAUL, MINN. (NOVEMBER 27, 2019) – Governor Tim Walz continued the time-honored tradition – dating back to the 1940s – of kicking off the Thanksgiving holiday with the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) at the state capitol today. Also, in special attendance was a lightweight hen (female) turkey, raised near Melrose, Minn.

“I wish all Minnesotans a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, filled with family, food, and
football,” said Governor Tim Walz. “As Governor of the top turkey producing state in the nation, I encourage all Minnesotans to serve Minnesota-grown turkeys at Thanksgiving this year.”

At the event, MTGA President Paul Kvistad announced the donation of approximately $11,000 to Hunger Solutions Minnesota (HSM), which will go toward the purchase of turkey products to be distributed to food shelves and food banks across the state.

“Thanksgiving has always been a special holiday for Minnesota’s turkey farmers – all about tradition,” said Kvistad. “Today, I am grateful to be able to announce that the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association is continuing our tradition of donating turkey to Hunger Solutions Minnesota.”

“As we give thanks this week, I encourage Minnesotans to volunteer or make a donation to their local food shelf so more Minnesota families can enjoy a warm Thanksgiving dinner,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “There are more than three million visits to food shelters across the state every year, and many of the visits are children. I’m grateful to Hunger Solutions for their work to end hunger in Minnesota, and to the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association for their generosity this holiday season.”

Paul Kvistad and his family raise about 240,000 turkeys annually on their farm, Paul Kvistad Poultry, near Wood Lake, Minn. Broken down, the farm raises six flocks of 40,000 lightweight hens each year. The family also farms 1,500 acres of corn and soybeans.

The MTGA is extra thankful this year when considering the recently received positive news in the global export market.

“The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association is thankful for the mid November announcement sharing that China lifted their ban on imports of U.S. poultry products,” said Kvistad. “Reopening this market is excellent news for the turkey industry. China was the second-largest export market for U.S. turkey products prior to the 2015 ban.”

Since 2001, MTGA has donated approximately 297,000 pounds of turkey to various areas of the state, which will feed 371,250 people in Minnesota. That’s enough turkey to feed Kvistad’s home county (Yellow Medicine County) almost 38 times over!

These funds have been raised from contributions by Minnesota’s turkey farmers and MTGA allied members, as well as a portion of the sales from MTGA’s Turkey To Go restaurant at the Minnesota State Fair.

Hunger Solutions Minnesota, a comprehensive hunger relief organization that works to end hunger in Minnesota, will coordinate the purchase and distribution of the turkey. One in 12 Minnesota households struggle to put healthy meals on their tables. The need for emergency food relief continues to be a problem in Minnesota even as our economy has improved.

“As we prepare for Thanksgiving, it’s important to keep in mind our neighbors who struggle with food insecurity throughout the year,” said Colleen Moriarty, executive director of Hunger Solutions Minnesota. “Hunger Solutions Minnesota connects people in need with resources through the Minnesota Food HelpLine and supports local food shelves throughout the state. The generosity of groups like the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association has an impact on the families we serve throughout the year.”

Approximately 450 turkey farm families in Minnesota raise about 42 million birds annually. Minnesota remains steadfast at the number one position in the U.S. for turkey production.

Current U.S. turkey production stands at almost 245 million in 2018 – which means Minnesota farmers raise a little more than 18 percent of all U.S. turkeys. Approximately 88 percent of all Americans will eat turkey at Thanksgiving, according to the National Turkey Federation.

The MTGA was founded in 1939. Minnesota has the most independent turkey farmers of any state in the U.S. and is also home to three successful turkey processing companies – Jennie-O Turkey Store in Willmar, Northern Pride Cooperative in Thief River Falls, and Turkey Valley Farms in Marshall. These companies collectively have created over 2,000 turkey products for the consumer and foodservice markets that are shipped across the country and the world.

Each turkey raised in Minnesota brings $17.46 in economic value to the state – which means Minnesota’s turkeys and the farmers who raise them generate more than $800 million in economic activity for the state.


About MTGA
MTGA, located in Buffalo, Minn., is a nonprofit trade organization that began in 1939 with a mission to foster a successful turkey industry in Minnesota. The state ranks #1 for turkey production and processing in the U.S. with its 450 turkey farmers raising approximately 42 million turkeys annually. Minnesota has the most family-owned turkey farms of any state in the U.S. and many of these turkey producers are 4rd, 5th and even 6th generation farmers. For more information, visit or You can also find Minnesota Turkey on Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey), Pinterest (, and Instagram (@MinnesotaTurkey).

About Hunger Solutions Minnesota
Hunger Solutions Minnesota brings people together to find real solutions to hunger through partnerships, programs, and public policy because food is a basic human right. We work with more than 300 food shelves, seven food banks, and leaders in agriculture, health care, business, and government because hunger can only be solved if we all work together. Learn more about Hunger Solutions Minnesota at

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Statement on New Commissioner of Agriculture for Minnesota

Minnesota Turkey Growers Association Statement on Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture Appointment

The following statement may be attributed to Minnesota Turkey Growers Association Executive Director Steve Olson regarding the appointment of Thom Peterson as Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner.

“Congratulations to Thom Peterson on his appointment as Minnesota’s Commissioner of Agriculture. Our organization has enjoyed working with him throughout his years at Minnesota Farmers Union and we know his knowledge of Minnesota agriculture and all that it encompasses will serve our state’s farmers and ranchers well. He is deeply familiar with the many facets of agriculture in Minnesota and his experience working with the legislative process will be an asset to agriculture and Governor-Elect Tim Walz.”