The Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council (MTRPC) and the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association have announced election results for each of its Boards of Directors.

The newly elected directors are:

Minnesota Turkey Growers Association

Region 1

Jes Westbrock, Rothfork Associates, Melrose

Region 2

Wayne Knudsen, New London

Minnesota Turkey Research & Promotion Council


Tim Miller, TJ Turkey LLP, Hanska (At-Large)

Region 1

Lynette Gessell, 13 Acres Inc., Little Falls

Region 2

Kim Halvorson, Halvorson Farms, Morristown

All elected Board directors will serve three-year terms and assumed their seats on March 1. Each of these boards meet approximately six times per year to guide MTRPC and MTGA activities, respectively.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is the agency responsible for conducting and certifying the MTRPC election, which was conducted by mail-in ballot in January. MTGA members voted for its Board election at the MTGA annual meeting on March 15 in Saint Paul, Minn.

Allied Director

Also appointed to the MTGA Board on March 14 as an allied member was Diane Wagner of Smart Animals/Ralco in Balaton, MInn.

Elected directors are listed alphabetically below, along with biographical information:

Lynette Gessell

Lynette Gessell and her husband John Gessell have been involved in the turkey industry for 38 years. They raise Light Hens in Morrison County. Lynette is serving her second term on the Minnesota Turkey Research & Promotion Council.

Lynette is active in supportive roles for local organizations and her church. She assists the Flensburg Fire Department with the annual grant request for equipment from the Department of Homeland Security. Each year, she volunteers to help the Swanville Lions Club during the Swanville Summer Carnival and as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army.

Lynette and John have three children and two grandchildren.


Kim Halvorson

Kim Halvorson of Morristown, MN owns and operates Halvorson Farms. She has been a turkey farmer for 27 years and raises approximately 100,000 heavy toms/year (about 3.2 million pounds/year) annually in Rice County.

Kim is currently a member of the Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce; is a minority liaison with Farm Service Agency; is the current vice-chair of the Rice County District One Hospital Board of Directors. She also served on the Rice County Board of Adjustment from 2006-2011; the Rice County Planning and Zoning Commission from 2002-2011 (serving as past chairwoman); and is a founding member and past chairwoman the Rice County Childcare Association from 1995-2002.

Kim has conducted many media interviews about the turkey industry and was also featured on a DVD compiled by the Minnesota Farm and Food Coalition about livestock production in Minnesota. She has three daughters – Breann, Benita and Greta – and a son, Bernt.

Wayne Knudsen

Wayne Knudsen of K & B Turkeys, LLC, is a first-generation turkey grower and produces 120,000 toms/year in Redwood county. He is serving his second term on the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association.

Wayne has served as a board member for the Echo School District/YME District, the MN River Valley Education District & the Redwood County Fair. In addition, for 23 years he has been an active member in his church, the Echo Alliance Church, and served as an elder, board member & treasurer.

Wayne and his wife Kay, have been married 39 years and have four children and many grandchildren.

Tim Miller

Tim Miller, owner of T & J Turkeys LLP, has been a part of the turkey industry for 30 years. Tim raises approximately 145,000 heavy toms and light hens on his farm in Hanska. Tim is serving his first term on the Minnesota Turkey Research & Promotion Council

Tim is very active in his faith, having held many positions in both Zion Lutheran Church and Prairie Land Lutheran Parish. He is married to his wife Jill and together they have three children- Kyle, Aaron, and Kelsey.

Diane Wagner

Diane Wagner grew up on a farm outside of Ruthton, Minn. where her family raised both swine and dairy for commercial sale and poultry for personal consumption. The farm later streamlined to be focused on dairy production and grain (corn, soy, oats) and alfafa.

After she graduated from Ruthton High School, she received a technical degree from Alexandria Technical College for computer programming and a Bachelor’s degree from Southwest State for Business Administration.

Diane was employed by Schwan Food Company in Marshall, MN from June 1984 to April 2014, including 16 years in information services (IT), seven years in the Home Service department, and over six years in the Foodservice department.  Due to an office relocation to Bloomington, Diane chose to remain in the Marshall area and has been employed by Ralco Nutrition since 2014 (Vice President of Corporate Technologies and Ralco Animal Health General Manager).

This is Diane’s first term on the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association Board of Directors.

Jes Westbrock

Jessica Westbrock, manager/Vice President of Melrose Feed Mill/Rothfork Associates, has been raised in the turkey industry all her life but has been working full time for 5 years. Jes and her family raises approximately 1 million toms and some hens over 7 farms in Stearns County. This is her first term on the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association Board.

Jes is very active in the community volunteering with the Melrose FFA Chapter and serving as a coach for the Holdingford Girl’s Swim Team. She is also active in speaking out to different groups about the turkey industry through the Speak for Yourself Program and other various organizations. Jes is married to Andy and have 3 children, Paige, Peyton, and Parker.