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MTGA and MTRPC award three noteworthy individuals during annual meeting

July 2, 2019 — For immediate release

Contact: Lara Durben, Communications Director
Phone: (763) 682-2171
E-mail: ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

MTGA and MTRPC award three noteworthy individuals with its Ranelius, Turkey Promoter and Allied Lifetime Achievement Awards

(Buffalo, Minn.) — The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) and Minnesota Turkey Research & Promotion Council (MTRPC) are pleased to share the names of its award recipients honored for their dedication, service and passion for the Minnesota turkey industry. The announcements were made at the MTGA 80th Anniversary Summer Conference on June 27 in Brainerd, Minn.

Ranelius Award
MTGA is proud to announce that Pete Rothfork, Rothfork Associates and a turkey grower from Melrose, Minn., is the 2019 recipient of its prestigious Ranelius Award.

“The Ranelius Award is the highest honor given by the MTGA,” said MTGA President Paul Kvistad, a turkey farmer from Wood Lake, Minn. “It signifies leadership and dedication to the industry based on contributions made to enhance Minnesota’s turkey industry. Pete Rothfork is more than deserving of this special honor.”

Rothfork and his family raise one million tom turkeys annually and have been involved in the Minnesota turkey industry for multiple generations. He serves as President and CEO of the Melrose Feed Mill, Inc. which manufactures 50,000 tons of feed annually. Rothfork is well- respected among his peers and served as the MTGA & MTRPC President from 1997-1998 in addition to serving as past chairman of the National Turkey Federation in 2005.

“Pete embodies servant leadership with a firm but steady hand and leads by example,” said Lara Durben, interim Executive Director. “He encourages new members to get involved with our associations and understands the value of transparent relationships with stakeholders when working toward a common goal.”

“It is a great honor to present the Ranelius Award to Pete Rothfork,” said Kvistad. “We thank him for his dedication and passion to our state 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.

To view a recap video of Pete Rothfork’s impact on Minnesota’s turkey industry, please visit Minnesota Turkey’s YouTube Channel.

Turkey Promoter of the Year Award
The MTRPC honored Kim Halvorson, current MTRPC President and a turkey grower from Morristown, Minn., with its 2019 Turkey Promoter of the Year Award.

Professionally, Halvorson has handled a myriad of media interviews through the years and was an asset during the High-Path Avian Influenza breakout in 2015. The association relied on her to take on interview requests which she conducted with expertise and ease.

More recently, Halvorson promotes turkey at a variety of events in her region, including Hy-Vee grocery stores’ “Meet a Farmer” events and annual food shelf and agriculture events put on by KLGR Radio in Faribault. Lastly, Halvorson is a board director and volunteer for Farmamerica, which aims to connect people with the evolution of agriculture.

“Kim Halvorson has long been an advocate and passionate volunteer for Minnesota’s turkey industry, even before she was elected to the board of directors” said Lara Durben, interim Executive Director. “She always maximizes her opportunities to promote turkey and agriculture wherever she is at; she makes sure our legislative leaders know how MTGA & MTRPC stand on issues.”

Congratulations to Kim Halvorson on this befitting honor. The MTRPC thanks her for years of outstanding commitment to the organization and its mission.

Allied Lifetime Achievement Award
The MTGA honored Gregg Veldman, Senior Business Manager at Evonik Corporation and a resident of Becker, Minn., with the 2019 Allied Lifetime Achievement Award.

Gregg began his poultry career as a sales representative with Novus International in 1994 before working for Evonik Corporation in 2012.

Gregg has been an avid supporter of the turkey industry for many years. He set up a $20,000 scholarship program with Evonik for children of families impacted by High-Path Avian Influenza and has lobbied for the turkey industry at the state and national level.

“Gregg has always been a passionate advocate for the turkey industry,” said Paul Kvistad, MTGA President. “He exemplifies the role allied members play in our association and we appreciate his dedicated service throughout the past 25 years.”

For more information on the MTGA or MTRPC, Ranelius Award, Turkey Promoter of the Year, or Allied Lifetime Achievement Award programs, please contact Lara Durben at 763-682-2171 or ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com.

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About MTGA
The MTGA, founded in 1939 and located in Buffalo, Minn., 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 approximately 42 million turkeys annually. Minnesota has the most independent turkey farmers of any state in the U.S. For further details, visit www.minnesotaturkey.com, find us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MinnesotaTurkey) and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube (@MinnesotaTurkey).

About MTRPC
The MTRPC is the oldest check-off based commodity organization in Minnesota, celebrating 50 years in 2015. 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.

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Episode #25: MTGA Summer Conference

In episode #25 of What The Cluck! Podcast, host Steve Olson is joined by Paul Kvistad, a turkey grower from Wood Lake, Minn. and the current MTGA President. The two discuss why MTGA Summer Conference is a can’t miss event and the stellar education program. They encourage all members to attend and use the education program as a resource to bring back useful information to the farm.

In the second segment of the podcast, host Olson interviews John Hausladen, President & CEO at the Minnesota Trucking Association and former MTGA Executive Director (1982—1996). The two discuss MTGA through a historical lens including the proud 80 year history and the evolution of the Minnesota turkey industry. Despite the changes in technology and genetics, one thing remains constant and that’s the people or as Hausladen said it best, “Characters who [are] full of character.”

Learn more about MTGA Summer Conference and register here.
Check out the MTGA Summer Conference education program.

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Episode #24: Importance of turkey hatcheries

In episode #24 of What The Cluck! Podcast, host Steve Olson is joined by Demetrio Barajas, a hatchery manager with Select Genetics. The two discuss all aspects of a turkey hatchery including incubation, poult uniformity, walk through the various stages of eggs at the hatchery and share the ideal conditions inside the hatchery for the turkey eggs.

In the second part of the episode, Demetrio discusses the process a poult goes through after hatching until it reaches the customer at a grow out or breeder hen farm. The turkey industry continues to utilize science and modern technology to create the ideal hatchery environment for new poults in addition to carefully timing and monitoring individual steps throughout.

To learn more about Select Genetics: https://select-genetics.com/
To learn more about Aviagen Turkeys: http://www.aviagenturkeys.us

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Episode #20: Turkey Genetics Part 2 | Turkey mini-series ep. 3

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

In episode #20 of What The Cluck! Podcast, host Steve Olson interviews Paige Rohlf, geneticist and Research & Development Manager for Aviagen Turkeys. The two discuss turkey genetics and the importance of genomics and biotechnology in producing turkey products for consumers. Primary breeders in the turkey industry are committed to researching and investing in science and technology to increase the genetic rate of improvement passed down to commercial turkey populations.

This is the third episode in our first ever “Turkey mini-series” that focuses on different aspects of raising turkeys.

To learn more about Aviagen Turkeys: http://www.aviagenturkeys.us
To learn more about Hendrix Genetics and Hybrid Turkeys (a second, well-known, primary turkey breeding company):
https://www.hendrix-genetics.com/en/animalbreeding/turkey-breeding/
https://www.hybridturkeys.com

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Episode #19: Turkey Genetics Part 1 | Turkey mini-series ep. 2

In episode #19 of What The Cluck! Podcast, host Steve Olson interviews Dr. Owen Willems, Director of R&D for Hendrix Genetics & Hybrid Turkeys. The two discuss turkey genetics from the standpoint of a primary turkey breeding company and the practicality is has on the farm for turkey growers purchasing breeder hens and/or growing out commercial poults. Learn more about the science of how genetics plays a role in the turkey that makes it to your table and the goals for breeding the turkey of the future.

This is the second episode in our first ever “Turkey mini-series” that focuses on different aspects of raising turkeys.

To learn more about:
Hendrix Genetics (primary turkey breeding company): https://www.hendrix-genetics.com/en/animalbreeding/turkey-breeding/
Hybrid Turkeys: https://www.hybridturkeys.com
Turkey Genetics 101 Webinar, created by Hybrid Turkeys & Hendrix Genetics: https://vimeo.com/255432240
Aviagen Turkeys (primary turkey breeding company): http://www.aviagenturkeys.us

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

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Episode #18: Turkey Breeders | Turkey mini-series ep. 1

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

Have you ever wondered what it takes to own and manage a turkey breeder farm? Episode #18 of What The Cluck! Podcast is all about turkey breeders and the care and precision required to raise these hens for producing poults. Host Steve Olson is joined by Dr. Michelle Behl, Director of Poult Quality for Select Genetics in Willmar, Minn. and Loren “Butch” Brey, owner of Brey Farms in Sleepy Eye, Minn. The three discuss the egg laying process, hatching, incubation and poultry quality.

This is the first episode of six in our first ever “Turkey mini-series” that focuses on different aspects of raising turkeys.

Learn more about turkey breeders and farming at the following links:

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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.

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MTGA Welcomes Pam Debele as New Ag Program Specialist / Membership Coordinator

For immediate release

Contact:  Lara Durben

Phone:     (763) 682-2171  |  E-mail:     ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

(Buffalo, MINN) … Pam Debele of St. Michael, Minn., has joined the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) as its Ag Program Specialist and Membership Coordinator. Her Pam Debele, Minnesota Turkey Growers Associationfirst day on the job was January 14.

Pam comes to MTGA most recently from the Milwaukee area, where she worked as the Interim 4-H Youth Development Program Advisor for the third largest 4-H program in Wisconsin. While there, she co-coordinated program for 1,200 youth 4-H members and 250 adult volunteers. Previous to that position, Pam worked as the communication specialist for the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation in Eagan, Minn. She is very familiar with all the agriculture commodity organizations in Minnesota and will bring a wealth of knowledge in program planning for both youth and adults as well as communications to the MTGA and our other organizations.

Pam grew up on a farm in the Dassel-Cokato area, received her BS degree in Agricultural Industries and Marketing from the University of Minnesota, and was a Minnesota State Officer for the National FFA organization. MTGA is thrilled to welcome her on board and she can be reached at  pdebele@minnesotaturkey.com and 763/682-2171.

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Episode #9 – Scoop on Poop!

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

In this episode, host Steve Olson is joined by Dr. Melissa Wilson, Assistant Professor of Manure Management and Water Quality at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Sally Noll, an Extension Poultry Specialist from the University of Minnesota, and Paul Kvistad, Vice President of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association. The four discuss the importance of manure to farmers and the soil, its nutritional content for crops, manure management, and current and pending manure research.

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Episode #8 – Understanding A Greater Minnesota

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

In this episode, host Steve Olson is joined by Dr. Adam Birr, Executive Director of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association and the Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion Council and Dave Preisler, CEO of the Minnesota Pork Board. The three discuss A Greater Minnesota; what it’s about, how agriculture impacts all Minnesotans, and how you as a voter can ask your legislators to support Minnesota agriculture. Learn more about AGM at www.farmandfoodmn.org.