The Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council (MTRPC) has honored five 4-H members from Douglas County with its 2017 “Turkey Promoter of the Year” award.

Kodi Bundermann (Alexandria, Minn.), Kayla Egenes (Alexandria, Minn.), Katie Kent (Alexandria, Minn.), Christina Kuismi (Brandon, Minn.), and Kerryn Lund (Brandon, Minn.) received their award at the MTRPC Annual Meeting on March 14 in Minneapolis. The five 4-H members were part of a Minnesota 4-H Science of Agriculture team that won 2nd place at the state competition for their research into different bedding types for turkey barns.

The 4-H members also worked closely with 2017 National Turkey Federation (NTF) Chairman Carl Wittenburg and his wife, Sharlene, to raise a special National Thanksgiving Turkey flock. From July until November, the 4-H members helped train the flock, gave media interviews, were the subject of several videos for MTRPC, and were passionate about sharing their 4-H and agriculture stories as well as those of Minnesota’s turkey farmers.


In early November, two of the turkeys were chosen to travel to the White House for the National Thanksgiving pardoning ceremony. The 4-H members and the Wittenburg family also attended, participated in a press conference in Washington DC, and were able to meet with President Trump in the Oval Office and participate in the pardoning ceremony in the Rose Garden.

“It was gratifying to watch these 4-H members learn about turkey production and also hone their own leadership skills through a variety of public speaking and media interview opportunities,” said MTGA and MTRPC Executive Director Steve Olson. “The girls are articulate and smart – and they were able to showcase Minnesota’s 4-H program on a national scope. It was a great partnership and we are appreciative of all the time and effort they put forth to make the 2017 National Thanksgiving Turkey project a huge success.”