MTGA is celebrating its 80th anniversary
BUFFALO, Minn. — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has proclaimed this week (June 24-28) as “Minnesota Turkey Growers Week” in honor of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association’s (MTGA) 80th anniversary.
MTGA was formed in 1939 by a group of turkey farmers from across the state who wanted to create a more formal organization for education, research, product promotion and connecting growers with each other.
“The founding farmers of MTGA had the vision and foresight to create an organization that ultimately helped the industry grow into the powerhouse it is today,” said MTGA President and turkey farmer Paul Kvistad, Wood Lake, Minn. “They were truly visionary leaders in terms of what they saw was possible for turkey production in Minnesota.”
Even in those early years, the partnership turkey farmers formed with the University of Minnesota was instrumental in building the organization and strengthening all aspects of turkey production — including nutrition, bird care and animal husbandry, and bird health. That partnership — along with the relationship built with the Minnesota Board of Animal Health – remains at the core of the MTGA mission to foster a successful turkey industry in Minnesota for growers as well as a provide, safe, delicious, affordable protein for consumers around the world.
“These partnerships combined with the entrepreneurial spirit and wherewithal of Minnesota’s turkey farmers and turkey companies — both in terms of on-the-farm production and product development — is an incredible part of MTGA’s 80-year history,” Kvistad said.
Approximately 450 turkey family farmers from 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 approximately 242 million annually — which means Minnesota farmers raise nearly 18 percent of all U.S. turkeys
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 more than 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.
To celebrate MTGA’s 80th anniversary, a special video project depicting six multi-generational turkey farm families talking out the past, present and future of raising turkeys is available at www.MinnesotaTurkey.com/our-family-farmers.