Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Farm Stress Management Resources

As Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza continues to infect more farms in Iowa, concern for farmers’ mental health has increased.

A disease outbreak can be emotionally devastating, and while farmers are dealing with the practical and financial implications, they may not be paying much attention to the emotional repercussions.

Iowa State University Extension offers a free “Iowa Concern Hotline” for help and referrals for dealing with stress.  A Live Chat feature on the website can also connect you with a stress counselor.

farm families stress

Information on this graphic was taken from the following two articles, which are great resources for farmers and those close to them:

Managing Farm Business and Family Stress (Compiled by Don Hofstrand, material originally written by Colleen Jolly, retired extension family life specialist; Ralph Mayer, retired extension farm management specialist)


National Ag Week, 2015: Why are you involved in agriculture?

This week is National Ag Week, with a big celebration today for National Ag Day.  Our Iowa Turkey Federation board members are devoted to agriculture, whether they are active on the farm, or part of an allied company that works with farmers.

We asked a few of them why they’re involved in agriculture and their answers speak for themselves.  From a family heritage of farming, to a love of problem solving, agriculture offers opportunities for people to do what they love and focus on their values every single day.

IMG_9451Russ Yoder, Vice President of the Iowa Turkey Federation and farmer

It leads back to family heritage.  My Grandpa started raising turkeys back in ‘36 and, it’s just so fun to look back over history to see how far we’ve come and where we’re going. I just really enjoy being part of the family farm and look forward to passing it down to my children.”


Ross Thoreson, President of the Iowa Turkey Federation, Midwest Sales Representative for Best Veterinary Solutions

I grew up on a turkey farm, but never really thought I’d stay in agriculture. When I was on the turkey farm growing up, I paid about as little attention to that as I possibly could.  I went to college, into something completely different, but decided to come back and get involved with the family business, and it’s been the best move I’ve ever made and have enjoyed it ever since. I extremely enjoy the people I get to be with on a daily basis.  It’s a great industry to be in.”

Gerald & Sandy Lessard 2010 NTF

Gerald Lessard, Vice President and COO of West Liberty Foods

I’m involved in agriculture because I enjoy advancing solutions against challenges. And agriculture as a whole is very challenging.  It doesn’t matter if you’re working with livestock every day or you’re a row crop farmer or a journalist or a banker, every day’s a different challenge.  And I appreciate the fact that solutions can be advanced towards agriculture.  There’s a lot of attention to detail in agriculture that I don’t think the normal public understands, whether it’s in manufacturing or providing food foreverybody’s table.  It’s the challenges – that’s why I stay in agriculture.

IMG_9474Sheila Larson, ITF Membership Services, Turkey Farmer

I had no plans to return to the farm. I was bound and determined I would NOT marry a farmer, but – I married a farmer. I would say the greatest part of agriculture, even though I’m not in the turkey barns every day or seeing with animals every day, is that you can be involved in agriculture in so many different ways.  It’s not set in stone you have to do this, that or the other, there are a lot of opportunities.


Lynn and Animal Ag Alliance President & CEO Kay Johnson Smith
Lynn and Animal Ag Alliance President & CEO Kay Johnson Smith

Lynn Schable, Tyson Foods

I’ve been with Hillshire (now Tyson) for 20 years, and what I enjoy looking at is the whole gamut.  From the time those turkeys are placed in the barn and all the things that have to happen to make that work, all the way to getting the food into the consumer’s plate.  It’s a very interesting, complex and dynamic process.  And there’s so much that happens from Day 1 to get the meat to the consumer…I just think it’s a fascinating industry.


tim kasingerTim Kasinger, Valley of the Moon Commercial Poults

I started on a farm, a dairy farm, and did that for a few years when I got out of high school.  After college, an agricultural company was hiring and my dad said, “Go work for them, you’ll move up fast.”  (I didn’t.)  But, of all the jobs I know, agriculture is the only one where you’re rewarded for hard work.  It’s the only one. Everything else, politics come in to play and to a certain extent, that’s probably true in our industry as well.  But if you work hard and do your job in agriculture, you’ll be rewarded.  It’s the greatest job there is.


Gobble It Up September 2014

The Iowa Turkey Federation recently sent out our FIRST email newsletter, and it was a big hit!  All new turkey recipes, news, and nutritional information in a great, easy to read email.  

Click here to see the September 2014 Gobble It Up Newsletter.

gobble it up



And don’t forget to sign up so you’ll get the next edition (November, 2014) in your email inbox!

Discover new ways to cook turkey.  From quick week-night meals to fancy cocktail party appetizers, there’s something for everyone!


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*We promise we’ll never share your email address, and you can always unsubscribe later if you want.


Solar Panels are Standout Performers on Livestock Farms

By Bethany Baratta

These days, farmer Mike Bates has an extra appreciation for the sun. Not just because it’s helping to grow his crops, but now it’s also helping to power his livestock farm.

Interested in lowering his electricity costs, Washington County Farm Bureau member Mike Bates looked into installing solar panels on his turkey farm.

“For me to take better care of my livestock, I needed to keep them cooler in the summer, warmer in the winter and have better lighting. So I continued to need more electricity,” Bates said.

Ankeny-based CB Solar installed the 100 kW solar array on Bates’ turkey farm one year ago in June. The panels were attached to Bates’ turkey barns. solar turkeys


“I already had the existing buildings at the right angle to the sun to take advantage of all of that energy from the sun. So it was just a fit,” he said.

The panels are converting the sun’s energy to electricity. Through a converter, that then powers the ventilation systems in his turkey barns, feeders, lights and waterers, and also his grain dryer.

Keeping the fans running

“Now, with the solar panels, I feel really comfortable that I can have a lot of fans running to keep those birds comfortable during the heat of the summer,” he said.

Bates also added a solar array to his machine shop, which cuts down on electrical costs on his farmstead.

After crunching the numbers, Washington hog farmer Mike Norman found a solar array to be a great fit for his farm.

Installed last winter, Norman’s solar array converts the sun’s rays to electricity through an adapter. It’s then used to power the feeding system, waterers, ventilation system and lights on his feeder-to-finish hog farm.

“It’s good for the environment and it’s a way we can become self-sufficient,” Norman said.

Bates said he has had no problems with his solar array. It’s able to withstand ping pong ball-sized hail and winds up to 60 miles per hour, he said. And if it rains? That just cleans the panels, he said. Norman said the accumulated snow was tough on the solar panels because the cold weather didn’t allow the solar panels to completely thaw quickly. However, this summer is making up for that.

“We’ve been extremely pleased with what their output has been this summer,” Norman said.

Bates and Norman both worked with Alliant Energy to take advantage of rebates and credits to be applied to their solar projects. Bates said he’ll have the entire project paid for in September—just one year and three months after it was installed. Bates said that might not be the case for every farm in Iowa; size of the farm and project funding is unique for every farm.Mike by solar roof panels

Through Alliant Energy, Bates and Norman are able to bank the extra electricity they generate during the summer for use during the winter. During the month of June, Bates saved $3,000 on electricity. Norman said his solar array has cut his electric bill by 40 to 50 percent.

As they look to the future of their farms, Bates and Norman said that includes more solar projects.

Bates is looking at projects that convert the sun into heat for his turkey barns. Norman said he’ll continue to add solar panels to his new barns.

“Washington County is the No. 1 solar county in the state of Iowa,” Norman said. “It’s an environmentally good thing we can do.”

Bates said using solar energy just makes sense.

“It’s exciting. It’s so simple. You let the sun shine and have no maintenance and no moving parts,” he said. “In my mind, every turkey building, every hog building in the state of Iowa needs a solar panel on top of it because why wouldn’t you?”


Reprinted with permission from the Iowa Farm Bureau Spokesman.

Currie Family Receives Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award


family farmers



Mark and Mary Currie, who raise turkeys in rural Sac County, were named the June winners of the “Gary Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award.”

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey presented the award to the Currie family on Monday, June 30 at family’s farm near Schaller.

“It is great to be able to recognize some of the outstanding turkey farmers we have in Iowa during June ‘Turkey Lovers’ month,” Northey said. “Mike and Mary Currie, along with their children, do a great job caring for their animals and their land while also serving their community.”

The Currie family raises turkeys for Hillshire and also has a row crop operation. Mike and Mary have four children, Jared, Nick, Mike and Kayla. Jared and Nick are active in the farming operation.

In addition to their work on the farm, the Currie family supports a wide variety of community activities and is active in their church as well. The also take great pride to make sure their land and buildings are well maintained and use a variety of conservation practices to protect the soil.

The family was nominated for the award by Sam Wandrey, who owns Lobo’s Restaurant in Schaller, saying, “The Currie’s are an awesome family that take care of the livestock, the environment and they are strong supporters of local businesses.”

Wandrey added in his nomination, “The entire family is always ready to lend a hand to a neighbor or if help is needed at a community event. They are just great people!”

The Wergin Good Farm Neighbor award, made possible through the financial support of the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers, recognizes Iowa livestock farmers who take pride in doing things right. This includes caring for the environment and their livestock and being good neighbors. It is named in memory of Gary Wergin, a long-time WHO Radio farm broadcaster who helped create the award.

Anyone interested in nominating their neighbor for the award should write a letter or e-mail explaining why their neighbor should receive this designation. Applications may be submitted to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Attn: Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award, Henry A. Wallace Building, Des Moines, IA 50319 or emailed to

Meat Processing Plant: Cleaner than your kitchen

The last thing anyone in the food industry wants is for people to get sick from their products.  That’s why turkey farmers work so hard to keep their birds healthy.  Healthy animals lead to safe meat.

But what about after the turkeys leave the farm?  What practices are in place at the processing plants to ensure that the meat is safe?

Extensive cleaning is one of those practices.  To see this cleaning process in action, take a look at this short video from Land O’ Frost.


Food Photography Day

Here at the Iowa Turkey Federation, we have more turkey recipes than we know what to do with.

But, we know that our visual world wants PHOTOS of those recipes!  A photo can easily be pinned on Pinterest and shared on Facebook.

And so, we’re working hard to get those photos.  Which is more complicated than it turkey recipes

First, there is recipe testing, usually done in our homes, with our families as the taste testers.  Once the recipe is perfected, we have to make it one more time, style it, and hire a photographer to get a very professional looking, appetizing photograph.

 Food photography

We are working with the talented Becca, from Photography by Becca.  She usually does weddings, children and family photos, but we’ve convinced her to branch out into food photography, and she’s doing a wonderful job, don’t you think?

With 5 chefs (Gretta, Sheila, Katie, Karen Davis: Taste of Home Chef, and an Iowa State University student) we were able to cook and photograph 38 turkey recipes in one whirlwind day!  It was so much fun, so much work, and so delicious.

Karen Davis cooks turkey

We’ll be adding these recipes to the website over the next few weeks, but in the meantime, here’s a sneak peek of what you have to look forward to!

turkey recipes


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top 7 turkey products for weight loss

Top 7 Turkey Products for Weight Loss

Top 7 Turkey Products for Weight Loss

 top 7 turkey products for weight loss

Deli meat: Turkey deli meat is great for a quick sandwich.  Or, cut out the carbs and wrap it around a string cheese stick.

Serving size:  2 oz

Calories: 60

Protein: 9 g


Turkey breast: Skinless turkey breast is the leanest of all the turkey cuts.  Use it in place of chicken for more protein with fewer calories.

Serving size: 3 ounces

Calories: 120

Protein: 26 g


99% Lean Ground Turkey Breast:  Like ground beef? Try ground turkey instead.  Skinless, lean ground turkey has fewer calories and more protein than most ground beef. 

Serving size: 4 ounces

Calories: 120

Protein: 28 g


Turkey Pepperoni: Use turkey pepperoni to spice things up!  Turkey pepperoni has 70% less fat and ½ the calories of regular pepperoni, and is great for cooking or snacking.

Serving size: 30 g (about 16 slices)

Calories: 70

Protein: 9g


Turkey bacon: Turkey bacon is a great alternative to pork bacon, especially in recipes!

Serving size: 15 g

Calories: 30

Protein: 2 g


Turkey Sausage: Turkey sausage is available in many forms, and has fewer calories than pork sausage.

Serving size: 109 g

Calories: 160

Protein: 17 g


Turkey Jerky: Turkey jerky is an easy to find, protein filled snack for on the go.

Serving size:  1 oz

Calories: 80

Protein: 11 g


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Turkey Broccoli Brunch Bake Recipe for Breakfast

Turkey Broccoli Brunch Bake

Turkey Broccoli Brunch Bake Recipe for Breakfast

 This family-sized crust less quiche is great for serving a crowd for breakfast or brunch.  Katie likes to mix it up on Christmas Eve and serve Christmas morning.


Turkey Broccoli Brunch Bake
This family-sized crust less quiche is great for serving a crowd for breakfast or brunch. Katie makes it Christmas Eve and serves this Christmas morning.
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  1. 1 cup chopped turkey ham
  2. 1/3 cup sliced green onion
  3. 1/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  4. 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and well drained OR 1 1/2 cups fresh chopped broccoli
  5. 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
  6. 3 eggs
  7. 2 cups low-fat milk
  8. 1 cup all-purpose OR whole wheat flour
  9. 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  10. 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
  11. 1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  1. 1. Wash hands.
  2. 2. Arrange turkey ham in a greased 13x9x2 inch baking pan. Top with green onion, red pepper, broccoli and mozzarella cheese.
  3. 3. In a large bowl combine eggs, milk, flour, Parmesan cheese, lemon pepper seasoning and basil. Beat together with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour evenly over turkey mixture in baking dish. Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours, if desired.
  4. 4. Bake, uncovered in a preheated 425 degree oven for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean.
  1. 1 serving: 205 calories, protein 16.6 g, fat 8.5 g (saturated 3.7g), cholesterol 112.4 mg, sodium 551.5 mg, carbohydrate 18.2 g, fiber 1.7 g
Iowa Turkey Federation
hot turkey dip

Hot Turkey Dip

This hot turkey dip is quick and easy, using leftover turkey breast and the microwave or crock pot.  

hot turkey dip



Hot Turkey Dip
A great dip utilizing leftover turkey breast in the crockpot!
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  1. 1 cup (4 ounces) Pepper Jack cheese
  2. 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  3. 1 pound processed cheese
  4. 1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
  5. 1 can cream of chicken soup
  6. 1 can shopped green chilies
  7. 2 cups cooked, finely chopped turkey breast
  8. Diced green peppers, to taste (optional)
  9. Chopped onion, to taste
  10. 2 sliced green onions, top dip to taste
  1. 1. Wash hands.
  2. 2. Place ingredients in slow cooker or large microwave safe dish. Stir to combine. Cover and turn slow cooker on or place on low in microwave. Heat until cheese is melted, stirring occasionally.
  3. Serve with taco or corn chips.
Iowa Turkey Federation