Turkeys from National Thanksgiving Flock to Visit Twin Cities Schools


Nicole Krumrie, 763-682-2171 or
Lara Durben, 612-554-0920 or

Twin Cities Students “Flock” to See Turkeys from the National Thanksgiving Flock

What: National Thanksgiving Turkey Flock Members Visit Twin Cities Students

When: November 14, 2018

• Kaposia Education Center
o 1225 1st Ave S, South St. Paul, MN 55075
o 9am-10am
o Presenting to five 4th grade classes (137 students)

• Cedar Riverside Community Schools
o 1610 S 6th St, Minneapolis, MN 55454
o 12pm-1pm
o Presenting to 4th and 5th grade classes (34 students)

• The Minnesota Turkey Growers will be bringing a turkey from the National Thanksgiving Flock to two schools in the Twin Cities to teach students about the tradition of the National Thanksgiving Turkey ceremony at the White House, help them learn more about Minnesota’s turkey farmers, and share with them what the Minnesota 4-H program is all about.
• Each year, two turkeys travel to Washington D.C. – one serves as the National Thanksgiving Turkey and the other as his Alternate. The turkey that will visit the schools is a brother to these two birds.
• The National Thanksgiving Turkey is part of a flock that is being raised in Alexandria, MN by the Carl and Sharlene Wittenburg. Carl is the current chairman of the National Turkey Federation and also a Minnesota Turkey Growers Association member.
• 2017 marks the 70th anniversary of the National Thanksgiving Turkey ceremony.

Interview/Photo/Video Opportunities:
• Steve Olson, Executive Director of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association
• 4-H members from the Alexandria, Minn., area who are assisting with the training the birds
• Kaposia and Cedar Riverside students

More Information about the National Thanksgiving Flock:
Facebook  |  Instagram – @MinnesotaTurkey  | Snapchat – MinnesotaTurkey

RSVP your attendance to:
Nicole Krumrie, 763-682-2171 or


National Thanksgiving Turkey and Its Alternate Coming from Alexandria!


(Buffalo, MN) – November is always a busy month for Minnesota’s turkey farmers, which are ranked #1 for turkey production in the U.S. This year, however, will place an even bigger spotlight on Minnesota as the National Turkey Federation Chairman Carl Wittenburg and his wife, Sharlene, from Alexandria, Minn., have been officially invited to bring two turkeys to Washington DC for the annual National Thanksgiving Turkey event at the White House. Their special flock hatched in late June and now the Wittenburgs have about 20 turkeys vying for the privilege of traveling to Washington DC.

A video introducing the Wittenburgs and their family history in the turkey industry – both Carl and Sharlene grew up on turkey farms in Minnesota and North Dakota – can be viewed on YouTube:

Today, the couple raises about 100,000 turkeys on their family farm in Wyndmere, North Dakota, while also running a business – Protein Alliance –  for brokering a variety of proteins (including turkey), living in Alexandria, and raising their three sons.

Partnering with Minnesota 4-H

An exciting component of this project is the fact that the Wittenburgs are working with five 4-H members from Douglas County. The high school students are visiting the flock regularly to help the birds get used to people coming and going, noises, music, and so forth. None of the 4-H members had experience working with turkeys before they met the Wittenburgs and participated in a special project for the Science of Agriculture program via Minnesota 4-H last spring. That project placed 2nd in state and now the 4-H members are utilizing their knowledge of turkeys to help get the birds ready for Washington DC.

“We’re so excited to provide such an amazing national platform to showcase Minnesota’s 4-H program, which is an excellent leadership program for kids of all ages” said Carl Wittenburg. “Douglas County is the birthplace of Minnesota 4-H so this was a natural fit for us.”

You can follow along with all the fun on’s website, which has a special National Thanksgiving Turkey section that includes photos, videos, activities for kids, and resources for parents/teachers. The following social media platforms will also be a great place to catch the latest photos and fun events:

Special Events

Coming November 16 is a special Facebook Live virtual tour (starting at 10 am CST) with the Presidential Flock, the Wittenburgs, and the 4-H members. Cosponsored by Minnesota Turkey and Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom, the event is open to anyone – just visit for event details.

“The Facebook Live event will be the perfect opportunity for classrooms to participate and show students the National Thanksgiving Turkey Flock while they learn more about turkey farming in Minnesota. Plus there will be plenty of time ask questions during the event,” said Steve Olson, Executive Director, Minnesota Turkey Growers Association. “The event is open to anyone with an interest in turkey farming and the National Thanksgiving Turkey project – the more the merrier!”

One of the brothers of the National Thanksgiving Turkey flock will also be at the State Capitol on Friday, November 17 for Minnesota Turkey’s annual Thanksgiving presentation with Governor Mark Dayton.

Name Those Turkeys!

Everyone can also get involved in the Presidential Turkey Naming Contest on the website – visit between now and November 10 and submit your name suggestions for the two turkeys going to Washington DC. We will compile the most popular sets and give them to the White House for consideration.

The official hashtag for the National Thanksgiving Turkey project is #PresidentialTurkey.

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 450 turkey farmers raising an estimated 46 million turkeys in 2017. Minnesota has the most independent turkey farmers – from 1st to 6thgeneration farm families – of any state in the U.S. For further information, visit or find us on, Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey), Pinterest (@MinnesotaTurkey), Snapchat (MinnesotaTurkey), and Instagram (@MinnesotaTurkey).


Learn about Poultry Farming at Minnesota State Fair

For immediate release


  • Lara Durben, Minnesota Turkey Research & Promotion Council
  • Ph: 763/682-2171 (office) or 612/554-0920 (cell)

(Buffalo, MN) … The Minnesota State Fair is the place to be to learn about poultry farming, with multiple locations throughout the fairgrounds dedicated to turkeys, chickens and egg laying hens.

The Poultry Barn – located on Clough Street across the street from Turkey To Go concession stand – will not be displaying live birds this year because of the highly-pathogenic avian influenza outbreak. However, there is a wealth of information planned for this space on Minnesota’s turkey farmers, including:

  • Watch “A Day in the Life of a Turkey Farmer” video , as farmer Scott Heymer of Red Bridge Farms, Princeton, Minnesota, walks you through the typical tasks of his day while also talking about the priorities of bird health, food safety, and protecting the environment. (View here:
  • Take a “Turkey Selfie” in front of a photo backdrop of turkeys.
  • Thank a farmer by writing a postcard, generously provided by the Minnesota State Fair. Your card will be delivered to one of the many poultry farmers in Minnesota.
  • View the informative banners and other information about avian influenza and poultry production
  • Listen to presentations on poultry by veterinarians, farmers and others.

Minnesota Turkey Research & Promotion Council’s booth in the Dairy Building will feature:

  • A large pictorial display on the history of turkey farming
  • A comprehensive look at how turkey products get to your kitchen table
  • A fun turkey-cutout of a tom (male) and hen (female) turkey for photos
  • Free recipe cards and other brochures

Both the popular Miracle of Birth Center and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s booth in the Horticulture Building will display several informative banners on avian influenza and poultry production.

And don’t miss Gobble Gobble Cluck Cluck Day on Thursday, September 3 at the Christensen Farms Stage next to the Miracle of Birth Center, where a variety of fun and interactive activities will take place from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.:

  • Minute to Win It – Gobble Gobble Cluck Cluck Edition – a game show (with prizes!) for all ages where folks can hone their skills at an egg tower, feather challenge, ponginator, corn/soybean sort, and more!
  • Gobble Gobble Cluck Cluck Trivia Challenge – test your knowledge of all things poultry and win prizes!
  • Poultry Dance – Join Tom and Tillie Turkey as they dance their tailfeathers off to the ever-popular Chicken Dance!

“While live poultry will not be shown at the State Fair this year due to the highly-pathogenic avian influenza outbreak hitting Minnesota’s poultry industry this past spring, we’re confident that we have a variety of activities, displays, and information available for fairgoers who are interested in poultry farming,” said MTRPC Executive Director Steve Olson. “We are  especially grateful for the support and efforts of the Minnesota State Fair, FFA, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, and 4-H organizations as we all worked together to make this a positive poultry experience for fairgoers.”

About Minnesota Turkey Research & Promotion Council (MTRPC)

The Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council is an organization of turkey farmers that is recognized as a leading source for the latest turkey information.  Since 1965, the MTRPC has worked diligently to encourage consumers to eat more turkey year-round, sponsor innovative turkey research and educate a variety of audiences about the benefits of turkey. Programming at the MTRPC is funded by a voluntary grower checkoff program. MTRPC is the first agriculture checkoff organization in Minnesota’s history.

The state ranks #1 for turkey production and processing in the U.S. with its 450 turkey farmers raising approximately 46 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 3rd, 4th and 5th generation farmers.

For more information, visit or  You can also find Minnesota Turkey on Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey) and Pinterest (

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