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Women in Ag: A Day in the Life of a Turkey Farmer

I'm back after a bit of an extended absence! Sorry about that - first I didn't blog as much earlier this summer because I was dealing with the avian influenza crisis that hit the Midwest poultry industry; then I was trying to catch up on the work I missed during the avian influenza crisis; and now I haven't been blogging because I actually took a much-needed vacation earlier this month and really tried to unplug as much as possible.
But life is about to get very busy again because we're just a day away from kicking off the Minnesota State Fair. My role at the fair has evolved and changed over the years - I've done everything from schlepping turkey nuggets and burgers at our "Turkey To Go" concession stand to answering consumer questions and passing out recipes at our booth to carting a live turkey through the crowds to make a media appearance. (Yes, really!)
Nowadays, I tend to hold down the fort a bit more in the office, taking all the media requests and scheduling the live interviews at the local TV and radio stations who broadcast from the fair. Rest assured, I do venture to the fairgrounds at least twice and usually more than that. Life just wouldn't be the same if I didn't spend quality time talking turkey at the state fair - I've been doing so for 20 years straight!
This year live poultry shows have been cancelled due to the avian influenza outbreak (read more about that here in a previous blog post), but my organization (the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association) has been working with many other agriculture organizations to make sure there are plenty of opportunities for fairgoers to learn about the importance of turkey, chicken, and egg layer farmers.
Which brings me to a terrific little project we put together on short notice for the poultry barn at the Minnesota State Fair - a "Day in the Life of a Turkey Farmer" video. The video, which will be shown off-and-on all day long during the fair, shows the typical day of Scott, a turkey farmer who runs Red Bridge Farms along with his wife and son. Scott talks at length about the priorities of bird health, food safety, and environmental protection while also sharing stories of growing up on the turkey farm and following his dad around in the barn as a kid.
We need more of these videos in the turkey industry, which tends to be a little more mysterious to people because the birds are generally raised indoors. (Find out why here). And as the farmer in the video told me just today, "So many people have no idea where the package of meat in the grocery store comes from."
Isn't that the truth!
This particular video provides a glimpse into barns at Red Bridge Farms and even shows some of the biosecurity practices poultry farmers are taking to keep avian influenza at bay.
You can check out the video here on YouTube - and feel free to share if you are so inclined. It's fairly lengthy (just over 12 minutes), but it covers a lot of ground within that time and flows pretty quickly. Let me know what you think - this is the first time I've shared the video publicly! I'd love to get your feedback.
Until next time . . . I'm off to the fair!
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