February 14, 2011

New NTF Chairman Tells Industry to “Do the Right Thing” When Facing Numerous Challenges

TUCSON – Feb. 13, 2011 – The National Turkey Federation’s (NTF) Board of Directors elected Rick Huisinga to serve as the federation’s 2011 chairman. Huisinga is executive vice president of Willmar Poultry Company in Willmar, Minn.

“I’m a pragmatic person and I believe that using common sense and simply doing the right thing will serve us well to mitigate the numerous regulatory and legislative issues our industry will continue to face in this strange political climate,” Huisinga said during his acceptance speech. “Whether it is talking about environmental stewardship, the responsible use of antibiotics or food safety practices, we can all do the right thing by being a part of the public affairs process.”

Huisinga discussed in detail those regulatory and legislative challenges that will confront the turkey industry – antibiotic use in animal agriculture; food safety; environmental regulations; the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration proposed marketing rule; and renewable fuels policy.

During the conclusion of his acceptance speech, Huisinga spoke about the importance of being engaged in NTF by saying, “The best way to ensure we do the right thing is to continue to collaborate, communicate and coordinate on many of the items I’ve just discussed.”

During NTF’s Annual Convention, the Board of Directors also elected Steve Willardsen, president, Cargill Value Added Meats, as vice chairman; and John Burkel, director, Northern Pride, Inc., as secretary-treasurer. Yubert Envia, vice president of turkey and prepared foods, Foster Farms, assumes the position of immediate past chairman.

Huisinga began his career at Willmar Poultry Company in 1983 in the research and development department after attending school in California and at the University of Minnesota. At Willmar Poultry, Huisinga’s passion and dedication are focused on providing the turkey industry with innovative products, technologies and techniques for the future.

In addition to serving on NTF’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors, Huisinga is also on Minnesota Turkey Growers Association’s Breeder Hen and Research Funding committees and is a member of the General Conference Committee on the National Poultry Improvement Plan.

Since 1945, Willmar Poultry Company has been in the business of breeding, hatching, growing and processing turkeys, as well as developing and producing hatchery automation machines and food safety vaccines.

During the convention, the Board also reelected Gary Cooper, Cooper Farms; Jihad Douglas, Aviagen Turkeys; Paul Hill, West Liberty Foods; Ron Prestage, Prestage Farms; John Reicks, Sara Lee Food and Beverage; Ted Seger, Farbest Foods, Inc.; and Carl Wittenburg, Protein Alliance, Inc., to the Executive Committee (EC).

The Board elected Jim Leighton, Perdue Farms, Inc., to his first term as an EC member.

After the Board meeting, the elected EC members appointed Jeff Sveen, Dakota Provisions, to the Executive Committee as at-large members.

About the National Turkey Federation
The National Turkey Federation (NTF) is the national advocate for all segments of the $14 billion turkey industry, providing services and conducting activities that increase demand for its members’ products by protecting and enhancing their ability to profitably provide wholesome, high-quality, nutritious products. Its award-winning web site,, offers consumers, food professionals and the media an extensive library of information including healthy eating and restaurant trends, turkey cuts and purchasing tips, turkey nutrition and cooking techniques, and turkey facts and trivia. Additionally, the site presents a searchable database of more than 1,900 recipes, offers a recipe E-mail program and provides special seasonal and holiday ideas. The National Turkey Federation is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

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