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Two area producers returned to turkey promotion council

BUFFALO -- Two area turkey producers have been returned to seats on the 16-member Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council board of directors.

Among the five directors elected are Gene Brownfield, of Redwood Falls, and Robert Orsten, of Willmar, according to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. The department is responsible for conducting and certifying agricultural promotion council elections. The election was conducted by mail-in ballot in January.

Brownfield and Orsten serve at-large.

According to information from the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association, both men are beginning their second terms on the board, which meets about eight times per year to guide the council's activities.

Board members also serve as advocates for Minnesota's turkey industry. Turkey producers pay a percentage of their sale proceeds to the Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council, which uses those funds to pay for promotion, communication and research activities aimed at increasing producer profitability.

Brownfield has been in the turkey industry for 49 years and currently raises 215,000 toms and 636,000 hens on farms located in Brown and Renville counties. His son runs the family's crops operation, which includes corn, soybeans, peas and sugar beets.

He and his wife, Janette, have two children, Dean, who farms with Gene, and Jayne, who lives in Bloomington. They also have two grandsons.

Orsten has worked 19 years in the turkey industry. With farms in Kandiyohi and Swift counties, his family raises 70,000 breeder turkeys and also grows corn, beans and hay.

He and his wife, Rochelle, have five children: Talia, Autumn, RJ, Brady and James.