The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association (MTGA) is proud to announce that Dr. Carol Cardona, Pomeroy Chair in Avian Health, University of Minnesota, is the 2018 recipient of its prestigious Ranelius Award. The announcement was made at the MTGA Annual Meeting on March 14 in Minneapolis, Minn.

“The Ranelius Award is the highest honor given by the MTGA,” said MTGA President Chris Huisinga, a turkey farmer from Renville, MN. “It signifies leadership and dedication to the industry based on contributions made to enhance Minnesota’s turkey industry, and Dr. Cardona is well deserved of this special honor.”

As the Pomeroy Chair in Avian Health for the College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Cardona is a world-renowned expert in avian influenza and also serves as co-director/co-principal investigator of the Minnesota Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance at the University.

“Carol’s expertise and guidance during and after the 2015 highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak in Minnesota was crucial in helping the poultry industry move forward on both the farm level and from a business continuity standpoint,” said MTGA Executive Director Steve Olson. “She also developed an important sampling tool used during and after the AI outbreak that continues to help the industry assess the health status of a flock before moving birds to market.”

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Dr. Cardona’s ability to form partnerships between industry, academia, and government agencies extends far beyond avian influenza as well.

Through her role as Pomeroy Chair in Avian Health, Dr. Cardona encourages producer-focused research on timely topics such as gut health, respiratory health, and animal welfare. She was instrumental in creating and opening the Mid-Central Research and Outreach Center (MCROC) in Willmar, Minn., which quickly became a regional hub for research, education, and engagement for the poultry industry.

“It is a great honor to present the Ranelius Award to Dr. Cardona,” said Huisinga. “She embodies the principles of Dr. Ben Pomeroy, for whom her endowed chair is named, and we thank her for her dedication and passion to the turkey industry.”

The Ranelius Award is named for Sven Ranelius, a founding father of the MTGA, often described as a quiet, unselfish person who was very dedicated to the turkey industry in Minnesota. Nominees are evaluated on two central criteria: their contribution to the industry over a period of time; and the quality of that contribution.