Meet John Burkel, a fourth generation turkey farmer from Badger, MN, who raises turkey hens (female turkeys) for Northern Pride, Inc. This turkey cooperative was formed in 1989, is located in Thief River Falls, MN, and is owned and operated by independent turkey growers throughout Northern Minnesota and North Dakota. Most of John’s turkeys are the whole birds you buy in the supermarket.
He and his wife Joni have five children: (Vanessa (sophomore in college), Andrea (senior in high school), Alex (sophomore in high school), Jack (5th grade) and Emily (kindergarten). The family lives on a farm just outside Badger, which is approximately a six hours+ drive from the Twin Cities in the far northwestern part of Minnesota.
John has been very active in various volunteer roles within the turkey industry and he believes it’s important to continue to learn and educate himself about the best ways to raise healthy, happy turkeys. His family is also very involved in the farm, so you can ask a turkey question to any of his kids, and they will probably know the answer!
He has served on the Northern Pride board of directors since 2000 and also served as a board member for the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association from 1999-2008, acting as president of that organization in 2004-2005.
Since 2007, John has been a member of the National Turkey Federation (NTF) Executive Committee and currently serves as the 2013 NTF Chairman, which gives him the opportunity to bring a turkey to the White House for the annual Thanksgiving pardoning ceremony.
On a fun note, the entire senior class of Badger High School – including John and Joni’s daughter, Andrea – will be traveling to Washington, D.C. for the turkey pardoning festivities and will also tour many of the amazing historical memorials and museums in and around the DC area.