MN Turkey Council Board Election Results

News Release

For immediate release

Contact:  Lara Durben, (763) 682-2171 or


MN Turkey Council Board Election Results Announced

Directors Hail from Pelican Rapids, Northfield and Willmar

(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

John Gorton, Pelican Rapids

Region 2

John Zimmerman, Northfield

At-Large Positions

Scott Christensen, Willmar

Christopher Huisinga, Willmar

Scott Jones, Willmar

Incumbents elected to their second terms on the Board include John Gorton , Scott Jones and John Zimmerman; new Directors are Scott Christensen and Christopher Huisinga.

All five 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 approximately 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:

John Gorton (incumbent) – REGION 1 POSITION

John Gorton of Gorton Turkeys has spent his entire life in the turkey industry, including approximately 20 active years as an adult – nearly 6 with Jennie-O and 14 with this father. Gorton Turkeys have raised approximately 500,000 turkeys (hens, light and heavy) annually.

Issues of particular importance to John include maintaining the role of the independent turkey grower in Minnesota’s turkey industry.

Christopher Huisinga and Scott Christensen

Christopher Huisinga and Scott Christensen

John, his wife Trudy and family live in Pelican Rapids and have two sons, Blaine (age 15), and Jay (age 13). He is a past Board Member of the City of Pelican Rapids Planning Commission; an organizer of youth football (2008-2009); and a past leader for Cub/Boy Scouts (2004-2009). His hobbies include golf and pontooning.

This is John’s third term on the Board. He currently serves as Vice President.

Scott Christensen – AT-LARGE POSITION              

Scott Christensen currently works as the Director of Breeders, Hatchery and Nutrition Services for Jennie-O Turkey Store and his office is based in Spicer, Minn. He has spent 32 years in the food industry, with 9 of those directly in the turkey industry.

In addition to his work at Jennie-O Turkey Store, Scott serves as a board member of West Central Industries and has been a member and volunteer with First Lutheran Church.

Issues of particular importance to Scott include getting a better understanding of how the turkey industry interacts with other Minnesota industries and learning about the critical issues that are facing the turkey industry. He also believes in supporting and promoting local agricultural efforts.

Scott and his wife, Cheri, have three daughers – Carrisa, Tess and Jenna. His hobbies include traveling, golf, fishing and hunting.

Scott Jones

Scott Jones

This is Scott’s first term on the MTGA-MTRPC Board of Directors.

Christopher Huisinga (AT-LARGE POSITION)        

Christopher Huisinga  currently works for Willmar Poultry Company dba Ag Forte as the North Division Manager/Minnesota Breeding and Hatcheries. He has worked in the turkey industry for the past 10 years. He manages breeding farms in Kandiyohi County that raise 580,000 PS breeders and 15,000 GP breeders that produce about 55 million commercial poults on an annual basis.

In addition to his role at WPC/Ag Forte, Chris has served as director on the University of Minnesota West Central Partnership Board (2010); was a committee member on the Florida Bankers Association Legislative Committee (2002); and a committee member on the Biobusiness Alliance Legislative Committee (2009).

Issues of particular concern to Chris include the use and allocation of association resources; disease management; industry issues; consumer relations/perception; industry education; and state and federal legislation impacting the turkey industry.

Chris and his wife, Joi, have one son, Ethan, and one daughter, Ella. In his spare time, Chris enjoys mountain biking, hunting, music and all other sports.

This is Chris’s first term on the MTGA-MTRPC Board of Directors.

Scott Jones (incumbent) – AT-LARGE POSITION

Scott Jones currently works for Jennie-O Turkey Store as Director of Procurement and has been in the turkey business for 20 years. His primary role involves procuring and planning how to utilize growing capacity to meet the planned needs of the company.

While going to college he spent every summer working either on a turkey farm or in one of the Willmar-area processing plants.  After graduating from Concordia College Scott returned to Jennie-O and eventually was offered a job in the Quality Control area.  As part of the Quality Control group he held several positions in the Willmar processing plants from a Quality Control Engineer to Quality Control Manager in two of Jennie-O’s Willmar

John Zimmerman and John Gorton

John Zimmerman and John Gorton

facilities. After working in the Quality Control area, he moved into Live Bird Scheduling which he did up until his current position with Jennie-O Turkey Store.

This is Scott’s second term on the MTGA-MTRPC Board of Directors.

John Zimmerman (incumbent) – REGION 2 POSITION

John Zimmerman runs the family farm – P & J Products, Northfield, MN – along with his mother, Karen Zimmerman. He has been in the turkey industry all his life and P & J Products raise approximately 3-4 million pounds of turkey annually and also raise 500 acres of corn and soybeans.

John graduated from Iowa State University with a BS degree in animal science. He also is a graduate of the Minnesota Agricultural Rural Leadership Program (MARL) and currently serves on the Board of Directors of MARL. In addition, he is board secretary of the River County Co-op. He and his wife, Kara, live in Northfield.

This is John’s third term on the Board. He currently serves as President.

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 2012. 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)