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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


19 Fun Facts for 2019: Minnesota Turkey & Turkey To Go Concession

For immediate release

Lara Durben, Minnesota Turkey Growers Association
Ph: 763/682-2171 (office), 612/554-0920 (mobile)


  1. Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) has been serving up turkey at the Minnesota State Fair for 61 years (since 1958). Our state fair concession stand, Turkey To Go, is known for its signature Giant Juicy Turkey Sandwich and Slow-Roasted Turkey Drumsticks.
  2. This year, MTGA celebrates 80 years of existence and released a special 80th Anniversary video series highlighting several of our multi-generational farm families to commemorate the milestone – available on our website, and YouTube Channel. MTGA thanks the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council for their assistance with the project.
  3. (Throwback) Food offerings to fairgoers have changed over the years but a few highlights include: roast turkey sandwiches with gravy (1950s and 1960s), extremely popular turkey tenderloin-on-a-stick (1970s and 1980s), turkey nuggets (1990s) and in 1999, the Great Big Turkey Sandwich was introduced and remains our focus and fan favorite today!
  4. Our menu:

Giant Juicy Turkey Sandwich ($8.00)
Half Pound Giant Juicy Turkey Sandwich ($9.75)
Slow-Roasted Turkey Drumstick (Original, Sweet Glazed & Buffalo – $9.75)
Turkey by the Pound – Frozen Turkey To Go product that you can take home with you! ($16.75 per pound)
Tasty Turkey Sunrise Sandwich – Our signature Turkey To Go product, an egg, and slice of American cheese on a bun ($8.00)
Toppings: bleu cheese & buffalo sauce; brie & cranberry sauce; crispy chopped bacon & sweet glaze ($2.50)
Beverages: Lemonade w/Raspberries ($3.75), Pop ($2.75), Water ($2.75)

  1. A portion of every sale goes to Hunger Solutions Minnesota. Since 2008, TTG has donated nearly $80,550.
  2. Turkey To Go is located next to the All-You-Can-Drink Milk Stand (1256 Clough Street).
  3. Turkey To Go was named the People’s Choice Award for “Best Food or Beverage” at the 2012 Minnesota State Fair!
  4. Turkey to Go by the numbers:
    • We expect to cook approximately 40,000 pounds of turkey at Turkey To Go this year.
    • From 2011-2018, Turkey To Go sold a total of 357,269 Giant Juicy Turkey sandwiches and 90,588 Slow-Roasted Turkey Drumsticks!

9. Our Giant Juicy Turkey Sandwich (eaten without the bun) and Jumbo Turkey Drumstick are gluten-free.

  1. Don’t forget about our breakfast sandwich, which debuted in 2015 – the “Tasty Turkey Sunrise Sandwich” that includes our famous Turkey To Go pulled turkey, an egg, & slice of American cheese on a bun.
  2. Turkey To Go also has locations at Target Field. Up-to-date location information can be found at or visit for details.
    Target Field – Turkey To Go is behind home plate between sections 112 and 113; in section 133; and in section 318
  1. Turkeys raised in the U.S. are free of added hormones and steroids. Added hormones and steroids in poultry have been illegal since the 1950s and aren’t needed anyway. Genetics and nutrition make all the difference!
  2. Minnesota is ranked #1 for turkey production, processing, and hatching in the U.S. and is home to 450 turkey farmers who raise approximately 42 million turkeys annually on 600 farms. Minnesota has the most family- owned turkey farms of any state in the U.S. and many of our producers are 4th, 5th, and 6th generation farmers.
  3. Turkey is a versatile protein that plays well with various flavor profiles and takes on whatever seasonings or marinades it’s cooked with.
  4. MTGA was formed in 1939 as a nonprofit trade association dedicated to fostering a successful turkey industry. Today MTGA and its sister organization, Minnesota Turkey Research Promotion Council work on behalf of Minnesota’s turkey industry in the areas of research, promotion, public relations, issues management, education and government affairs.
  5. Nutritionally, turkey has more protein than chicken or beef – plus fewer calories with zero trans- and saturated fat.
  6. MTGA’s website – – features links to turkey recipes for consumers and the foodservice industry. We also have recipes at our State Fair booth in the Dairy Building.
  7. Producing a quality, nutritious and safe product is the top priority for turkey farmers as well as turkey processing companies, which follow USDA guidelines for food safety. Consumers, too, need to do their part to ensure that turkey is handled properly in the kitchen and cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F., as measured by a food thermometer.
  8. Find us on the Web at or and on social media:

    Facebook: and
    Twitter: @TurkeyToGo and @MinnesotaTurkey
    Instagram: @TurkeyToGo and @MinnesotaTurkey


Turkey To Go focuses on classics at the Minnesota State Fair

For immediate release

Lara Durben, Minnesota Growers Association (MTGA)
Ph: 763/682-2171 (office) or 612/554-0920 (cell)

Turkey To Go focuses on the classics at the 2019 Minnesota State Fair
Giant Juicy Turkey Sandwich celebrates 20 years at the fair

(Buffalo, Minn.) … Since 1958, Turkey To Go, the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association’s (MTGA) restaurant at the Minnesota State Fair, has had a strong presence at the Minnesota State Fair and is a can’t-miss destination for many fairgoers. The reason is simple: Turkey To Go’s favorite turkey menu options honor the timeless classic protein that turkey is, and make it a perennial State Fair favorite. In fact, in 2012, Turkey To Go was named the very first “People’s Choice for Best Fair Food or Beverage” voted on by fairgoers.

While the classic Turkey To Go menu remains a constant year after year, the flavors are still bold and delicious! The Giant Juicy Turkey Sandwich is an all-time favorite that debuted in 1999 and has garnered Turkey To Go a wide variety of media coverage reaching beyond the Great Minnesota Get-Together from food bloggers and national culinary talent alike:

“The large, squishy-soft bun is loaded with tender, flavorful turkey that’s been shredded and chopped. This is great for when you’re looking for something that’s filling and not fried,” said Brenda Score, author at A Farmgirl’s Dabbles blog. I like to eat it with some BBQ sauce, but the sandwich has so much flavor you really don’t need it.”

“The hot pulled, baked turkey is dressed many ways, but I take mine plain – with spoonfuls of the cooking liquid thrown on by request,” said Andrew Zimmern, host of Bizarre Foods. “[The Giant Juicy Turkey Sandwich is] sloppy and perfect.”

Complimenting the Giant Juicy Turkey Sandwich are Slow-Roasted Turkey Drumsticks and the Tasty Turkey Sunrise Sandwich, debuted in 2015. Rounding out the menu is Turkey To Go by the pound, the perfect way to take part of the State Fair experience home!

One of purposes served by Turkey To Go is getting people to think of turkey beyond the classic Thanksgiving meal and incorporate a variety of cuts and recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Minnesota’s proud turkey farm have a driving passion for promoting and serving nutritious, convenient, on-the-go turkey products to fairgoers.

“Minnesota’s turkey companies have developed more than 2,000 different turkey products for consumer enjoyment, said Lara Durben, MTGA Interim Executive Director. “That type of innovation and the knowledge and expertise of our multi-generational turkey farm families have led to Minnesota’s growth over the last 80 years to the number one turkey-producing state in the nation.”

Turkey To Go is owned by the MTGA with day-to-day operations handled by The Turkey Guys, Drew Levin and Daniel Perkins. While MTGA handles much of the behind-the-scenes details of the operation prior to and during the State Fair, The Turkey Guys bring in their staff to run the concession stand, including cooking and serving turkey to hungry fairgoers. What’s clear from day one of the State Fair is that everyone involved in Turkey To Go loves turkey!

Lastly, MTGA is proud to announce that a portion of every sale at Turkey To Go will be donated to Hunger Solutions Minnesota (, an organization that is dedicated to ending hunger. This is the twelfth straight year of continuing this tradition of giving back.

About Turkey To Go
Turkey To Go concession at the Minnesota State Fair is located at 1256 Clough Avenue, next door to the All-You- Can-Drink Milk Stand. Turkey To Go is owned by the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association, which has had a food stand at the Minnesota State Fair since 1958.

Turkey To Go’s Giant Juicy Turkey Sandwich comes in its original version or a gigantic half-pound option. Additionally, the concession stand serves up its popular roasted turkey drumsticks. Topping choices for these items include: bleu cheese crumbles and buffalo sauce; brie cheese and cranberry sauce; crispy chopped bacon and sweet glaze. Finally, the restaurant serves up its Tasty Turkey Sunrise Sandwich featuring its signature Turkey To Go product, egg, and cheese on a bun – with the option to add turkey bacon as well.

In addition to its location at the Minnesota State Fair, Turkey To Go has three locations in Target Field during Minnesota Twins’ home games (behind home plate between sections 112 and 113; in section 133; and in section 318).

Fans can find Turkey To Go on Facebook (, Twitter (@TurkeyToGo), Instagram (@turkeytogo) and at

About Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA)
MTGA 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).


Editor’s note: High resolution photos of the turkey drumsticks, the Tasty Turkey Sunrise Sandwich and Giant Juicy Turkey Sandwich are available by request; please email


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 #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.


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

2018 Summer Conference | Learning at Leech Lake

The 79th Annual MTGA Summer Conference took place June 20-22, 2018 in Walker, Minn. at Chase on the Lake Resort. Approximately 120 people attended; taking part in educational sessions, the 5th Annual Turkey Taste Off, fun afternoon activities, the Pub Crawl and of course, socializing with one another.

This year’s educational sessions included an energy panel, implications of tax law changes and an HPAI updates from Dr. Carol Cardona (UMN). Please view the education session videos here. (Log-in and go to “Summer Conference.” Note – this link is for MTGA members only – username/password required.)

Wednesday afternoon started with educational sessions followed by the ever popular, 5th annual Turkey Taste-off! Eight recipes were featured with Turkey Cashew Pasta Salad (recipe submitted by Linda Hedlund) and the Turkey BLT Salad (recipe submitted by Lynn Meschke) taking top honors. Here’s a link to the recipes:

After the taste-off, members were thoroughly entertained by a hypnotist and the evening concluded with s’mores and a bonfire on the beach.

Thursday morning started early with educational sessions and a choice of the Lake Itasca Boat Cruise, trap shooting or a corn hole tournament for afternoon activities. The reception and banquet were held in the evening where winners of the trap shoot were announced.

1st- Brian McComb

2nd- Brad Rortvedt

3rd- Nick Alt

Tom Bruins was honored with the Allied Lifetime Achievement award.

Be sure to check out the MTGA Angels video brought to you by the MTGA Staffers:

The TURPAC Pub Crawl wrapped up the evening and was well-attended. MTGA members raised $2,600 for TURPAC!

MTGA Lobbyist, Bruce Kleven, and NTF Vice President of Government Affairs, Damon Wells, wrapped up the conference Friday morning with a government affairs update. Thank you to everyone who attended this year’s conference and also to our many sponsors. The weather was fantastic and the company even better!

The 2019 MTGA Summer Conference will be held June 26-28 at Madden’s on Gull Lake, Brainerd, MN. We will celebrate MTGA’s 80th anniversary so mark your calendars now and plan to attend!


Minnesota Turkey Launches 3rd “Day in the Life of a Turkey Farmer” Video

Video focuses on Where the Turkey Life Cycle Begins – On a Breeder Farm

(BUFFALO, MN) – Minnesota turkey grower Loren Brey of Brey Farms was recently featured in “A Day in the Life of a Turkey Farmer” video. This video is part of a series of videos created and published by the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) as an effort to promote and educate consumers about the turkey industry. These videos provide an insightful view into the life of a turkey farmer – the challenges and joys of raising turkeys in Minnesota.

Said Steve Olson, MTGA Executive Director: “Transparency is important to many consumers – they want to know where their food comes from, how it’s grown and how it’s processed. Tours of poultry farms are limited due to biosecurity practices that are implemented to protect flock health. To get around this obstacle, the MTGA has put out these videos on their website to provide the public the opportunity to look inside a turkey barn.”

Brey is one of the 450 turkey farmers in the state of Minnesota, and he was thrilled to be able to share his family’s turkey farm on the video. “This is my 30th year in the turkey business. I started picking eggs from the previous owner…and then eventually purchased the farm. It was an honor for me to share my family’s story and life on our farm in this video,” said Brey.

Minnesota ranks number one in turkey production in the United States, producing around 46 million turkeys per year. Turkey farms like Brey’s are where the turkey life cycle begins.

Even though all farms may look different from each other, all farmers pay close attention to bird health. In the video, Brey explains the different practices on his farm to maintain bird health – from biosecurity, barn temperature, ventilation, nutrition, and much more. Farmers go to great measures to ensure good health and well-being of their birds to produce a safe product for consumers.

“As you enjoy your Thanksgiving meal this year, be sure to remember that it may be a Minnesota turkey farmer that helped get the turkey to your table!” said Olson.

Brey’s video can be viewed on or YouTube.
Learn more about Minnesota turkey farm families at

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 of any state in the U.S.

For further information, visit or find us on Facebook: and Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey).



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