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An open letter to the Minnesota turkey industry

Over the past several months, the boards of directors of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association and the Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council have been engaged in the process of restructuring the two organizations with the intent to refocus our efforts on the interests and needs of the Minnesota turkey industry. This process started as the direct result of several members expressing concern regarding the current and future direction of our two organizations.

Immediately after the summer meeting concluded in June, longtime Executive Director Steve Olson resigned from his position.  Not long after, in mid-September, Lara Durben and Teresa Sorenson submitted their resignations and have elected to move on to other opportunities. We appreciate all that they have done for our organizations and the Minnesota turkey industry and wish them well in their new endeavors.  The sudden resignation of these three individuals has left a temporary void regarding the staffing levels in the office but at the same time has provided us with the opportunity to restructure our missions from the ground up.

The members of the MTGA and MTRPC boards remain committed to the Minnesota turkey industry and are looking for ways to streamline our efforts and budget while remaining focused on the priorities of research, grower education, and supporting our growers. We have hired an outside consulting firm to guide us through the process of refocusing our goals in order to come up with a long-range plan.  Once achieved, the process of searching for an executive director to fit our new needs and direction will be one of the primary goals.

We are moving as quickly and diligently as we can and ask our members to please be patient with us as we continue through our strategic planning process and executive director search. We will be reaching out to our members and other key stakeholders throughout this process; please speak up and let us know how our organizations can better serve our industry.

Sincerely,

The Board of Directors of the MTGA
The Board of Directors of the MTRPC

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Episode #15 – Leveraging social media and consumer outreach in agriculture

What The Cluck! - the podcast of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association and the Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota

In the latest episode of What The Cluck! Podcast, host Steve Olson interviews Wanda Patsche, a farm partner in CW Pork, Inc. and Lara Durben, Communications Director for the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association and the Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota. As social media experts, Wanda and Lara discuss fitting social media into their typical day, tips for managing multiple social media pages and the best way to reach consumers through social media including advice for those aiming to increase social media presence. Additionally, the experts discuss building a social media presence through blogging, videos, and maintaining good relationships with digital followers.

Start a Ripple of Agricultural Change | 2018 AASC

Lettuce, turkeys and a logger share a lot in common when they convene together to discuss the successes and challenges each face as leaders in their industries. These stories and several others were shared at the eighth annual Ag and Animal Science Conference (AASC) at the MinnWest Technology Campus in Willmar, Minn.

Agriculture and animal science stakeholders across the Midwest heard a collective narrative on the economics of agriculture, what various companies are doing to face today’s agricultural challenges and sharing the story of modern agriculture in a manner that evokes positive change in outside opinions toward agriculture.

The day kicked off with Tony DeLisi from Avalanche Consulting presenting on “Regional Collaboration in Agriculture and Animal Science.” DeLisi discussed the current economics of agriculture and explained how the industry has a greater impact when various groups join forces in collaboration and education as seen in the KC Animal Health Corridor.

AASC Conference \ Minnwest Technology Campus

This year’s theme was storytelling and was filled with various storytellers sharing their company’s history, expansions and where they’re heading into the future. Those who presented include: Natasha Mortenson, Community Relations from Riverview LLP, Kevin Ortenblad, Founder with Lettuce Abound, Kevin Lynch, VP of Operations at Aviagen, and MTGA farmer member Erica Sawatzke, Owner at Oakdale Farm.

AASC Conference \ Minnwest Technology Campus

Mortenson shared the dairy perspective of increasing Riverview’s size while respecting their company mission of teamwork and building personal strengths of their employees. Ortenblad and his family grow aeroponic lettuce that is sold for a premium and discussed the challenges of breaking into the competitive food market. Lynch explained the history of growing and merging companies to create Select Genetics (Aviagen) and some future goals as they continue to be a leader in turkey breeding. Sawatzke shared her family farm’s history, their daily operations and the challenges farming brings each day.

After lunch, a panel discussed “Perspectives on the Value & Impact of Agriculture.” MTGA’s own Lara Durben and farmer member Loren Brey were two of the panelists. A few questions brought to the panel revolved around social media, challenges each faces in their careers and how to be impactful withagricultural messaging.

AASC Conference \ Minnwest Technology Campus

The day concluded with keynote speaker Bruce Vincent President of Environomics who paralleled the challenges faced by the logging industry to agriculture’s modern issues and how the timber industry learned to work with a concerned public through impactful legislation and messaging. Secondly, Vincent shared how activism matters in business. Getting involved locally and starting a ripple of change is the best way to make a lasting difference.

AASC Conference \ Minnwest Technology Campus

AASC is an annual conference held at the Minnwest Technology Campus in Willmar, Minn. The event aims to bring the region’s top agriculture and animal science stakeholders to convene to discuss some of the industry’s most pressing issues. Registration is complimentary for qualifying ag professionals. For information on the 2019 AASC, visit http://www.mnwesttechnology.com/asc/.