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State aid set for Minnesota’s turkey farmers

The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association has been working for months with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to secure financial assistance to Minnesota turkey farmers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a press release. MDA unveiled the turkey market loss cost-share program to help turkey farmers and the industry weather what has been a challenging time for farm families.

“As a third-generation turkey farmer, you think you have seen it all,” said Paul Kvistad, Minnesota Turkey Growers Association president and a farmer from Wood Lake. “However, COVID has put a strain on farmers that no one could have prepared for and we are grateful for this aid.”

MDA’s turkey market loss cost-share program provides financial assistance to farmers who marketed fewer liveweight pounds from March through September due to COVID-19. To mitigate losses during the pandemic, the industry pivoted quickly and utilized several different options. Those decisions meant farmers saw a loss in production — putting a squeeze on farm families, the release stated.

“While our farmers live with risk every day and roll with the punches, this aid from Governor Tim Walz and Ag Commissioner Thom Petersen is the shot in the arm we needed heading into our most important season — Thanksgiving,” said Sarah Anderson, executive director of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association.

Turkey farmers uncertain of whether they qualify for funds should first review the application on the MDA website at www.mda.state.mn.us/turkey-market-loss-cost-share. Questions about securing the necessary liveweight pounds statement from the Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council should be directed to info@minnesotaturkey.com or 763-682-2171.

All applications must be received by 4 p.m. Dec. 1.

Funding for the cost-share program was made possible by the federal CARES Act provided to Minnesota by Congress and distributed by Walz.

The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association is a trade group representing over 450 turkey farmers across the state. Many of the farmers come from multi-generational family farms. The organization also represents turkey processors and industry stakeholders. Together, it advocates for the interests of Minnesota turkey farmers and the industry as a whole, the release stated. To learn more about MTGA visit minnesotaturkey.com/.