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MTGA Announces Steve Olson’s Departure After Nearly 19 Years of Leadership

For immediate release

Contact: Lara Durben, 763-682-2171 or ldurben@minnesotaturkey.com

(Buffalo, Minn.) … It is with a mix of sadness and gratitude that the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) Board of Directors announces Steve Olson’s departure as Executive Director, effective June 28, 2019.

Since 2000, Olson has played a critical role in the development and success of the organization.

“We will miss Steve and his inspiring leadership,” said MTGA President Paul Kvistad, a turkey farmer from Wood Lake, Minn. “We wish him the best of luck in this next chapter of his life and we thank him for almost 19 years of dedicated service.”

Olson’s accomplishments included:

  • The growth of Turkey To Go, MTGA’s State Fair food stand, as a major revenue stream for MTGA programs;
  • More than doubling the size of the Midwest Poultry Federation Convention, which has become the largest trade show in the U.S. that is 100% focused on poultry and was recently named one of the 50 fastest growing trade shows in the country;
  • Meeting the challenges of the highly-pathogenic avian influenza outbreak that hit Minnesota in 2015, which was the largest foreign animal disease outbreak the U.S. has ever seen;
  • Creation of a Student Careers Program two years ago for the Midwest Poultry Federation Convention to help attract a new workforce to the turkey industry.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my nearly 19 years with MTGA, especially getting to know the growers, their families, and the organization’s allied members,” said Olson. “This is truly a special industry, and it’s been rewarding to work with growers and our talented staff.”

Olson is looking forward to his next opportunities. “I wish MTGA continued success and appreciate the support I’ve had from growers, allied members, staff and our partners at the University, Board of Animal Health and other farm organizations.”

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 42.5 million turkeys in 2018. Minnesota has the most independent turkey farmers of any state in the U.S. For further information, visit http://www.minnesotaturkey.com/ .

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Episode 22: Poultry Health Management School continuing education opportunities

In episode #22 of What The Cluck! Podcast, host Steve Olson is joined by Dr. Darrin Karcher, poultry extension at Purdue University, Madison Taylor, partnership and outreach coordinator at Ferndale Market, and Todd Smith, quality assurance at Daybreak Foods. Dr. Karcher serves on the Poultry Health Management School executive committee and both Madison and Todd are former turkey/broiler and layer school attendees, respectively. The four discuss the opportunities PHMS provides for poultry farmers and their employees seeking continuing education to incorporate into their farm business and how that ultimately benefits the end-user consuming poultry products. Dr. Karcher gives insight on how topics and speakers are decided each year while Madison and Todd share their previous experience attending; the knowledge attendees receive and hands-on skills learned add unique value to the companies represented at the school.

Poultry Health Management School | May 13–17, 2019 | Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Learn more at www.PoultryHealthSchool.com.

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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 #17: National FFA Week – Celebrating memories & experiences

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

Episode #17 of What The Cluck! Podcast is all about celebrating National FFA Week! Host Steve Olson is joined by Protein Alliance owner Jeff Stauffenecker, former Minnesota State FFA officer Pam Debele, and 2018-2019 Minnesota State FFA President Grace Taylor as each conversation shares fond FFA memories and experiences. Learn how FFA positively impacted each guest’s educational background and now influences his/her career path. Don’t forget to promote National FFA Week all over social media this week, February 16-23, using #FFAWeek and #FFAJustOne.

Learn more about…
National FFA Organization: @nationalffawww.ffa.org
Minnesota FFA Association: @mnffawww.mnffa.org
MN FFA Alumni Association: @MNFFAAlumniwww.mnffaalumni.org
FFA Creed: www.ffa.org/about/ffa-creed/

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Episode #16: 2019 MPF Convention and why you need to be there!

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

In episode #16 of What The Cluck! Podcast, host Steve Olson interviews MPF Events & Exhibits Manager Teresa Sorenson and long-time MPF attendee and current Minnesota Turkey Research & Promotion Council President, Kim Halvorson. Learn why the Midwest Poultry Federation Convention is a can’t miss event as a poultry grower or processor! As a grower herself, Kim shares about the stellar education program and the value attendees receive from this continuing education, in addition to exploring the MPF exhibit halls and learning about the latest technology to bring back to your flocks and employees. Receive a behind-the-scenes look into the planning that goes into MPF, the maxed out exhibit halls, why Unhatched is a high energy event perfect to cap off your MPF experience, and the Student Careers Program from Teresa. Register today to attend at www.midwestpoultry.com.

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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.

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Episode #7 – All About FFA

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 shares information about FFA – what this organization is and what it means to both the students involved and the communities and schools in which it resides. Listen in as Minnesota State FFA Advisor Joel Larson and National Officer Candidate Katie Benson chat with Steve about all the opportunities and programs offered with FFA.