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Minnesota Turkey welcomes new Executive Director Sarah Anderson


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


(March 17, 2020) BUFFALO, Minn. – The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) and the Minnesota Turkey Research & Promotion Council (MTRPC) are proud to announce and welcome Sarah Anderson to serve as their new Executive Director.

Anderson previously served as a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives from 2007 to 2019. In her role as a legislative leader and Chair of the State Government Finance Committee, Anderson was recognized for her ability to work across the aisle to find efficiencies in state government.

Anderson most recently served as the Executive Director of the Literacy Matters Foundation where she led strategic planning, streamlined organizational finances and implemented restructuring.

As one of thirteen children growing up on her family’s farm near Atwater, Anderson recalls the valuable work ethic farm life instilled in her. Her agriculture background also led her to join the staff of former Speaker of the House Steve Sviggum, where she promoted the importance of the agricultural community to the state of Minnesota.

“Sarah Anderson is a proven leader with advocacy experience and roots in agriculture,” said Paul Kvistad, MTGA board President. “Her agriculture background and professional experience make her an ideal fit for our association.”

Anderson currently resides in Plymouth, Minn., and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth. She will join MTGA on April 6, 2020.

The MTGA is a trade association that advocates for the interests of the Minnesota turkey industry. MTGA members include independent and integrated turkey growers, turkey processors and breeders, and allied industry members. Its affiliated organization, the MTRPC, oversees the Minnesota turkey checkoff funds to underwrite turkey research and promote public education regarding the turkey industry.


About the MTGA:

Minnesota Turkey Growers Association enhances the success of the Minnesota turkey industry through member engagement, strong advocacy with legislators and public outreach.

About the MTRPC:

Minnesota Turkey Research & Promotion Council discovers and shares healthy practices for its members and and consumers by advancing strong research and public education.

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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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Minnesota propane supply and demand update

November 7, 2019

MTGA thanks the Minnesota Propane Association for cooperating with us to share the following information with our turkey grower members.

For those who have not heard, there has been great demand for propane in Minnesota. Farmers are drying record amounts of corn and therefore, consuming record amounts of propane.

According to the Minnesota Propane Association, propane supply is at very high and near record inventory levels in our country. Propane member companies are aware of the situation and are doing their best to meet the supply and demand.

Below, the Minnesota Propane Association shares the background of the situation so turkey growers are aware and can prepare yourself and your turkey barns for the future.

  • Propane has been shipped into Minnesota over the past days at record rates.
  • In an average November, propane marketers in Minnesota use 190 transport loads of propane per day for the state. This year we are shipping nearly 300 transports per day.
  • However, the cold spring, late planting and less than ideal growing season has produced a corn crop that is higher in moisture and in need of large amounts of propane for drying.
  • Minnesota is experiencing temperatures 10 -15 degrees below normal. We are experiencing December weather in early November. This has added to the gas needed for crop drying and heating homes and farms.
  • Providing propane for home heat and animal confinement remain our number one focus, but the industry will continue to seek all the propane supply we can to fulfill the crop drying needs of Minnesota farmers.

“We have felt it on our farm, and we’ve had to be aware of the situation to not let our turkey barns run out of gas while we’re drying corn,” said Paul Kvistad, MTGA board president and a turkey grower from Wood Lake, Minn. “We’ve been in contact with our supplier to know when the next load is available. Locally, we’ve been getting gas out of Iowa, Kan., Okla..”

The MTGA wants to stress the importance of this topic and make you aware of the situation. MTGA encourages you to talk to your propane supplier to prepare your future inventory. Please realize home heat and animal confinement remain the number one focus for propane usage; therefore, corn drying will more so rely on the speed in which suppliers can ship propane. If you have any questions, contact the Minnesota Propane Association at or call 763-633-4271. Learn more propane updates at

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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.


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


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

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


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, find us on Facebook ( and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube (@MinnesotaTurkey).

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.


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.


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:
To learn more about Aviagen Turkeys:


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:
To learn more about Hendrix Genetics and Hybrid Turkeys (a second, well-known, primary turkey breeding company):


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):
Hybrid Turkeys:
Turkey Genetics 101 Webinar, created by Hybrid Turkeys & Hendrix Genetics:
Aviagen Turkeys (primary turkey breeding company):

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


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: