New National Turkey Federation Chairman Elected

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New National Turkey Federation Chairman Elected


The National Turkey Federation’s (NTF) board of directors has elected Rick Huisinga to be the federation’s 2011 chairman. Huisinga (left) is EVP of Willmar Poultry Co. in Willmar, Minn. The election took place during NTF’s Annual Convention last month in Tucson, Ariz.

“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 spoke in detail about the regulatory and legislative challenges the turkey industry faces, among them antibiotic use in animal agriculture; food safety; environmental regulations; the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration proposed marketing rule; and renewable fuels policy.

At the close of his speech, Huisinga noted the importance of being engaged in NTF:“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.”

Huisinga began his career at Willmar Poultry Co. in 1983 in the research and development department. His main focus is on providing the turkey industry with innovative products, technologies and techniques.

As well as serving on NTF’s executive committee (EC) and board, Huisinga is on Minnesota Turkey Growers Association’s Breeder Hen and Research Funding committees, and a member of the General Conference Committee on the National Poultry Improvement Plan.

Also during the convention, the board elected Steve Willardsen, president, Cargill Value Added Meats, vice chairman, and John Burkel, director, Northern Pride Inc., secretary-treasurer. Yubert Envia, VP of turkey and prepared foods, Foster Farms, became immediate past chairman. 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., were all re-elected to the EC, while Jim Leighton, Perdue Farms Inc., was elected to his first term as a member of the committee.

Following the board meeting, the elected EC members appointed Jeff Sveen, Dakota Provisions, to the committee as an at-large member.

The Washington-based NTF serves as the national advocate for all segments of the $14 billion turkey industry, providing services and conducting activities that increase demand for members' products.