Minnesota Turkey Donates 12,350 Pounds of Turkey to Hunger Solutions Minnesota


For Immediate Release


Lara Durben, MTGA Communications Director

763/682-2171 or


Buffalo, MN (November 21, 2018) – Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) – the nonprofit organization that represents the state’s turkey farmers and turkey companies – has announced a donation of 12,350 pounds of turkey products to Hunger Solutions Minnesota.

President Chris Huisinga, a turkey farmer from Renville, Minn., says the turkey products will be distributed to food shelves and food banks across Greater Minnesota.

“Thanksgiving has always been a special holiday for Minnesota’s turkey farmers – all about tradition and giving thanks for our many blessings,” said Huisinga. “Many Minnesota families, however, struggle to put food on their tables. Through our annual partnership with HSM, we hope to help ease that struggle over the holidays.”

For Huisinga and his wife, Joi, this donation is even more special to them as they are wrapping up their first full year as turkey farmers. Huisinga has more than 70 years of turkey farming in his family history, and in 2017, he and his wife joined that legacy by starting a new farm.

“Farming and extending the family legacy in agriculture is important to us. We are grateful for the opportunities we’ve been given to raise turkeys,” said Huisinga. “Because we have so many blessings, we feel it’s important to give back to those who may need some extra help, and our fellow turkey farmers in Minnesota join us in that commitment.”

Since 2001, MTGA has donated over 286,000 pounds of turkey to various areas of the state, which will feed 381,000 people in Minnesota. These product contributions have been made possible 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.

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 six Minnesota families struggles to put healthy meals on their tables.  The need for emergency food relief continues to be a problem in Minnesota.

There are more than 3 million visits to food shelves in Minnesota every year. Volunteering or making a donation to Hunger Solutions Minnesota is a great way to help.

Approximately 450 turkey family farmers from Minnesota raise about 42.5 million birds annually. Minnesota remains steadfast at the #1 position in the U.S. for turkey production.

Current U.S. turkey production stands at approximately 242 million annually – which means Minnesota farmers raise nearly 18% of all U.S. turkeys. Approximately 88% of all Americans will eat turkey at Thanksgiving, according to the National Turkey Federation.

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 over $800 million in economic activity for the state.


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 or find us on Facebook: and Twitter (@MinnesotaTurkey).

About Hunger Solutions Minnesota

Hunger Solutions Minnesota works to end hunger by advancing fair nutrition policy and guiding grassroots advocacy on behalf of hungry Minnesotans and the diverse groups that serve them. We connect Minnesota’s food shelves and hunger-relief organizations with the necessary funding, technical assistance and logistical support to reach thousands of Minnesota individuals, families and children in need. HSM’s work is made possible through the generous support of donors across the country; each sharing our commitment to ensuring no Minnesotan will struggle with food insecurity alone.  For further information, visit, on Twitter @hungersolutions or on Facebook

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Kick-Off to the National Thanksgiving Turkey’s Road to White House


Minnesota expects an invitation from the White House to bring two turkeys to Washington DC the week of Thanksgiving for the annual Presidential pardon. The invitation hasn’t officially been sent yet, but we anticipate that it will come later this fall. We are kicking off the “Road to the White House” at the Minnesota State Fair.


2017 National Turkey Federation (NTF) Chairman Carl Wittenburg and his wife, Sharlene Wittenburg of Alexandria, Minn. are raising the Presidential flock. Five 4-H members from Douglas County are assisting with the project, helping to train the turkeys to become accustomed to light, noises, music, and people.


Saturday, August 26 from 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
4-H Exhibits Building; STEM Center – State Fairgrounds


The Wittenburgs along with the five 4-H members and Minnesota Turkey Research & Promotion Council’s (MTRPC) Executive Director Steve Olson will be available for interviews regarding the kick-off to the White House. The 4-H members can also talk about how they were chosen to assist with this project – through their participation in the Minnesota 4-H “Science of Ag” Contest, in which they won second place.

A table will be set up in the 4-H Exhibits Building with information on how the public can follow along with the flock this fall via the website and several social media platforms.

Fun Facts:


  • 4-H is America’s largest youth development organization empowering nearly six million young people across the U.S.
  • The concept of 4-H is encouraging youth to “learn by doing”, through project areas such as agriculture, science, health, and citizenship.
    • Leadership development is a key aspect of the 4-H program.
  • In Minnesota, over 67,000 youth are active in 4-H.
  • Douglas County is the birthplace of Minnesota’s 4-H program.

Presidential Turkey

  • 2017 marks the 70th anniversary that turkey farmers across the United States have presented a turkey to the President of the United States at Thanksgiving time.
  • The National Turkey Federation (NTF) presented the first turkey to President Harry S. Truman in 1947.
  • Early National Thanksgiving Turkeys were destined for a dinner plate until President George H.W. Bush began the official tradition of pardoning the turkey in 1989.
  • Minnesota has had 12 people serve as the National Turkey Federation Chairman – and present a turkey to a President – since the NTF’s inception and 2017 will mark the 13th NTF Chairman from Minnesota to do so.

Turkey Farming

  • Minnesota ranks #1 in United States for turkey production – with 450 family farmers raising 46 million turkeys on 600 farms across the state.
  • Minnesota has more independent turkey farmers than any other state in the U.S. Many of these farmers come from 4th, 5th, and even 6th generation farm families.

Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA)

  • The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA), established in 1939, represents the 450 farms and farm families who raise 46 million turkeys annually.
  • Minnesota turkey farms are family – and often have been in the family for 4, 5, and even 6th generations.

National Turkey Federation (NTF)

The National Turkey Federation (NTF) strives to support, grow, and promote turkey across the United States.