The Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council (MTRPC) has honored John and Joni Burkel and their five children with its 2014 Turkey Promoter of the Year award.

John Burkel continued a long-standing tradition when he stepped into the role of the National Turkey Federation (NTF) Chairman in 2013 - making him the 11th Minnesotan to serve in this prestigious role. As part of that role, Burkel and his family set about to raise the National Thanksgiving Turkey that would get pardoned by President Obama prior to Thanksgiving in November 2013.

"John and his family raised the bar for future Thanksgiving media campaigns with the work they did," said MTRPC President John Zimmerman, Northfield, Minn.


The Burkel family did numerous media interviews with reporters and photographers across the U.S. and were deeply involved in the Presidential Turkey Project coordinated by MTRPC. The Burkels were featured on the front cover of the Wall Street Journal, Time magazine, CNN, a White House blog and many more media outlets. They also welcomed school visits to their farm and took every opportunity to promote turkey to a variety of audiences. This was all in addition to Burkel's regular NTF business as Chairman and his day-to-day responsibilities on his Badger, Minn., turkey farm and with his family, which includes wife Joni and kids Vanessa, Andrea, Alex, Jack and Emily.

Said Zimmerman: "For the Burkel family's willingness to give the nation a glimpse into their farm and family, and as a token of our appreciation, we present you with our Promoter of the Year award."

The award was presented at the MTRPC Annual Meeting on March 19 in Saint Paul, Minn.