20th Century, Agriculture, Business, farming, History, Minnesota, Uncategorized

Jennie-O Turkeys

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Photo credit: mnopedia.org

1949
Turkey farmer Earl Olson buys a processing plant in Willmar, the beginning of Jennie-O Foods. Wheat feed and the growth of Jennie-O and related companies make this region a hub of turkey farming. By 1999, Jennie-O turns buys enough turkeys from independent farmers to produce 860 million pounds of 400 different turkey products. The company is known as the world’s largest turkey processor.*

For readers outside the midwest, or unfamiliar with this amazing bird, we first ask the question; why does turkey matter? Our state is fortunate to be home to the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association; a think-tank for the center-piece of our Thanksgiving meal! Please peruse some of these facts below to see why the MTGA is so enthusiastic about phasianidae!

“Minnesota is ranked #1 for both turkey production and processing in the U.S.
Each turkey generates $17.46 of direct economic activity to the state.
Minnesota’s turkey companies – Jennie-O Turkey Store, Turkey Valley Farms and Northern Pride Cooperative – employ over 7,600 people.
Turkeys are allowed to move freely throughout the barn. They are not kept in cages.
It takes 75-80 pounds of feed to raise a 30-pound turkey.
To reach full grown, tom turkeys are raised for about 18 weeks and hens are full grown at 15 weeks.
The average turkey has 3,500 feathers.
Only tom turkeys “gobble;” hens “click”.
Turkey meat packs more protein and less total fat than similar cuts of chicken and beef.
Turkey is low in cholesterol and trans-fat free.
A frozen turkey can last up to a year in the freezer.” **

Learning even these few facts, we see the utility of turkey farming. Perhaps seeing this potential 80 years ago partially explains the motives of Earl Olson. To add further, Earl was born May 8, 1915 to Swedish immigrants in Murdock, Minnesota, Swift County just before World War I. This would place Earl as a teen who experienced the scarcity of the Great Depression. Could this be a root motive to spark his fire for a cost-effective, healthful, and environmentally responsible source of meat?

Going to the company website, we find a useful outline of some of Olson’s history and visions for turkey processing.

“Earl B. Olson, Founder of Jennie-O Foods
Earl B. Olson is considered an icon in the turkey business. His tireless efforts and forward thinking helped propel Jennie-O Turkey Store and the turkey industry to what it is today.
1940: Earl starts raising turkeys while managing a small creamery.
1949: Earl purchased his first turkey processing plant, Farmer’s Produce Company, in Willmar, Minnesota.
1950: Dairy and other poultry products are phased out to focus solely on turkey.
1953: Earl converts Farmer’s Produce Company to a USDA-inspected turkey plant and names the brand JENNIE-O®—after his daughter, Jennifer.
1954: Farmer’s Produce Company purchases a second plant and seeks international distribution. A third plant is purchased in 1966.
1963: Earl’s son, Charles, joins the sales staff and becomes president in 1974.
1971: Farmer’s Produce Company changes name to Jennie-O Foods, Inc.
1973: The Willmar Avenue plant and corporate office are built to accommodate expanding processing capabilities.
1984: Jennie-O Foods, Inc. is among the first to develop the turkey hot dog, using a top-secret seasoning recipe and a custom-built, continuous oven stretching 100-feet long.
1986: Jennie-O Foods, Inc. is purchased by Hormel Foods Corporation.” ***

How does one give gratitude for our national symbol of Thanksgiving, Lord? Will You come, Holy Spirit, and lead us to ponder Mr. Olson’s contributions to Minnesota? Will You help us think about Your contributions to us through the members of the turkey family: Beltsville Small White, Bourbon Red, Jersey Buff, Narragansett, Royal Palm, Slate, Standard Bronze White Holland, Broad-Breasted Whites, and Heritage (Wild) Turkeys?

As You say, “the first deal be last, and the last first”, and so we start by remembering what gifts have been given to this continent through Meleaagris gallopavo a.k.a. Wild Turkeys. We thank You that they were an important food source for the Ojibwe and Dakota Nations for hundreds of years in Mni Sota (Minnesota). **** We remember that because turkeys were indigenous to North America, Spaniards, the French, and the English all fared better. ***** Thank You for giving us the “big brother” of the grouse to hunt for all these years! We remember that You made the marvelous wild turkey that could fly fast, run swiftly, and be positioned here for our survival!

Also, we recollect the bounty of the birds that went back to Europe and returned over time as our present-day domesticated breeds of turkey! We thank You that Mr. Olson saw the incredible utility of farm-raised turkeys! That he grew his business with a conscience that respected You, the land, the farmer, and the animal.******

Maybe this conscientiousness is why You chose him to oversee the increase of our State’s turkey production; we went from an insignificant source in 1949 to 42 million birds in 2019. ******* We thank You as a people for his stewardship of turkey’s! We ask Your blessing on every Minnesota turkey whether: Tom (male adult), Hen (female adult), Poult (baby), Jake (young male), or Jenny (young female)! We ask Your blessing on every turkey farmer past, present, and future! Will You give us grace and knowledge, like Earl B. Olson, to have such incredible focus on our life’s work, and cultivate a healthy culture across all forms of life raised in Minnesota?

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** https://minnesotaturkey.com/turkeys/fun-facts/#toggle-id-1
*** https://www.jennieo.com/content/our_history
**** https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/wild-turkeys-in-canada
***** https://blog.nwf.org/2012/11/lets-talk-turkey-history-of-wild-icon-in-america/
****** Obituary. Internet. December 13, 2006. StarTribune, Mpls.,MN. http://www.startribune.com/obituaries/detail/9061815/
******* https://www.ers.usda.gov/newsroom/trending-topics/turkey-sector-background-statistics/

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19th Century, Culture, government, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans, State Government, war

U.S.-Dakota War, First Strike on New Ulm Aug 19, 1862

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On hearing about the Dakota “uprising,” the men of New Ulm quickly go about erecting barricades in the center of town. About 100 Dakota soldiers attack New Ulm at 3:00 p.m. After almost two hours of fierce fighting, the Dakota break off the attack due to torrential rains. Word of the attacks reaches St. Paul. Governor Alexander Ramsey commissions Henry Sibley to lead the response against the Dakota. Sibley gathers his forces, mostly untrained civilians, and heads up the valley in pursuit of the Dakota.*

Jesus, I recognize the root separations that started this war. Over all, the prime motive for war seems to be broken trust. Often in human history, when the agreements of leaders fail, the innocents of their tribe, nation, or state bear the bloodguilt. Their leaders began the cycle of murder with their words, thoughts and actions. Yet, the kind, the unknowing, the innocent pay for their heart-murder!

Lord, will forgive us this offense against You! Forgive how good people on both sides of this issue were emotionally whipped up into an unnecessary frenzy that resulted in sickening cruelties! May town of New Ulm forgive the aggression of the estimated 100 Dakota soldiers. May the Dakota forgive the response of New Ulm and Henry Sibley.

Jesus, I invite You into this attack to remind all of true, self-sacrificing justice. Will You give revelation from this date of August 19, 1862 forward to all the participants, witnesses, and ancestors of the battle, their generations, and their property? We still fail to trust each other. We still do battle when something of ours is threatened. We blindly follow the emotional responses of our leaders with out properly testing their validity! We hate our fellow human beings, and are far from Your forbearing Spirit! Heal us, give us faith in each other, and heal this battle-scarred land!

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out!

 

 

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19th Century, Culture, education, Faith, government, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans, State Government

Bishop Whipple 1859  

Rev. Henry Whipple

Rev. Henry Whipple

Episcopal bishop Henry Whipple comes to Minnesota to “civilize” the Indians, but he also protests their mistreatment by the government.

When more than 300 Dakota are sentenced to death after the war of 1862, Whipple convinces President Lincoln to cut the number to 38.*

Great Holy Spirit, thank you for Bishop Whipple and his heart to know and minister to Indians. There are so many trigger points between Native Americans and our society that seem apparent to us now: ethnocentrism, casinos, property rights, and hunting rights to name a few. Perhaps these same flash points may not have been so obvious then?

For example, the Bishop wants to “civilize” the Indians. Only You know what this meant to Whipple. He could have meant to Anglicize the Indians by teaching them about his culture, and underscoring the importance of a written language and education. He could have meant that we are civilized when we meet Jesus, and cease our rebellion against Him, ourselves, and others. He could have meant to turn them into good Anglo-American citizens.

Whatever his motive Lord, I simply am aware of these judgments and counter-judgments that cloud the relationship between Your Native peoples and the rest of Minnesotas’ inhabitants. Will You forgive ALL Minnesotans’ our judgments? Will You hack any bitter roots that were planted by Henry Whipple, the Episcopal church, or other believers in 1859? Will You create a new relationship between Dakota and Your bride, the Church?

Thank you for the mercy that was extended to the Dakotas by President Lincoln due to Whipple’s intervention. He stuck his neck out to save Native necks!  May we continue to honor the lives You have given us, and even love the lives of those who oppose us! We are so far from Your tolerance and forebearance! We so easily forget that we once were rebels and enemies of Your kingdom of kindness, but You loved us while we were still sinners. May we imitate Your mercy and justice in the state of Minnesota! May You cause us and uphold us to be just! Will You “civilize” our hearts, and intervene for us in our deepest sorrows?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out!

 

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19th Century, History, Intercession, Jesus, justice, law, Minnesota, Native Americans

Reservations Halved 1858

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The U.S. government seeks more land to accommodate an influx of European settlers into Minnesota. As a result, 26 Dakota leaders are pressured to negotiate yet another treaty. After four long months spent in Washington, D.C., the Dakota are forced to sell the north half of their reservation in exchange for goods and annuities and the continuing right to live on the southern strip of their reservation.*

Jesus, I do not know the complexities of our laws’ surrounding the Dakota. I can see, with my limited vision and knowledge, that the Federal government with the state government of Minnesota as beneficiary, had a motive to acquire and to redistribute more land from them. This could be a non-issue, were it an amiable deal with a complete and clear understanding of terms.

However, I see the phrases here “are pressured” and “forced to sell”. A forced sale is not a sale, but coercion or extortion. Again, who would choose to submit to high pressure sales tactics of their own volition? Will You forgive this offense of coercion towards these 26 Dakota leaders and all their people and lands?

We have offended You by offending these exact Dakota bands? Will You forgive us this debt officially done in the name of Minnesota and our Federal government? Will You lift the spirit of coercion that still binds this specific Dakota land? Will You lift the spirit of harassment from the shoulders of these 26 Dakota representatives, their nation, and all their generations? Will You free our government and it’s Representatives from the bondages incurred through this event? Will You create remorse that leads to right relationship in those who specifically forced this “sale”, and their figurative children today?

With President Abraham Lincoln, today I pray for “a new birth of freedom”! Will you inspire us to create new means to legally restore such historic cases? Furthermore, will You teach us ways to unravel the generational damages to our bodies’, minds’, wills’, emotions’, and physical environments?

Good Father, how I love Your freedom! You do not force us to follow You, but have said, “Choose this day who you will serve.” (Joshua 24:16) May we forever cherish the Messiah’s example of laying down His life for both friend and enemy! He blessed those that cursed Him even during His execution!? May we consciously choose to love our neighbor! May we seek Your blessing, and the double blessing of our neighbors!

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out!

 

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19th Century, Culture, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans, Treaties

Winnebago Moved to Reservation 1847  

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A treaty with the U.S. government moves the Winnebago (Ho-Chunk) from northeastern Iowa and southeastern Minnesota to a reservation in Todd County. With the Ojibwe to the north and the Dakota to the south, government officials hope the Winnebago reservation will serve as a buffer zone between Minnesota’s two larger Indian nations.

The Winnebago prefer the terrain of the prairie to this wooded area, and in 1855, they relocate to a smaller tract of land in Blue Earth County. They remain there until after the U.S.-Dakota Conflict, when the government forces them to move with the Dakota to the Crow Creek reservation in South Dakota.*

Jesus, thanks for the peoples of Minnesota. Thanks that You made us Your people whether of Winebago, Ojibwe, Dakota, English, German, French, or Swedish descent. It’s wonderful that we are uniquely made, distinct families conveying some reflection of Your light!
Will You illuminate and forgive the bitter root judgments of the US government towards the Winnebago and vice versa? Will You forgive the government’s desire to use this people as a “buffer” between Ojibwe and Dakota, and the implications that they needed help maintaining peace between their peoples? Will You fill hearts and lands with the gift of restoration here in Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa, and replace the curses from the hearts of all parties in this event?

*www.dipity.com/Minnesota/History/Minnesota-History/

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19th Century, Culture, education, Faith, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans

Lake Harriet Mission School July 19, 1836  

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Six students attend the opening of the Lake Harriet Mission School for the Dakota, founded by the Reverend Jedediah D. Stevens. An early example of education within the boundaries of present-day Minnesota, the school was sponsored by the Presbyterian Missions Board and taught by the founder’s niece, Lucy C. Stevens, in a cabin built by Gideon H. and Samuel W. Pond.*

Good Teacher, thank you for the benefits of the Lake Harriet Mission School for the Dakota. Thank you for the heart of providing education to all! It’s so good to share what we know and have it received.

It is not easy to be the first. It takes boldness to reach out across cultural lines. On one side of this picture we have Dakota students who are reaching out to Stevens. Conversely, he is stepping out of his comfort zone to meet and teach members of an unfamiliar culture. Will You bless both sides of this exchange? Will You remember their boldness and trust to know each other? Each group is an exploratory party of sorts. May we never forget what its like to be an alien!

Lord, I also want to acknowledge our separations that may begin as academic pride. We assume our knowledge will change our ‘underprivileged’. We often fail to pass on wisdom (good judgment), and even foster an academic culture that hesitates to recognize the merits of wisdom. As moderns, we cringe at even the word ‘judgement’, although one could argue that good judgment is the root of justice?!

I feel prompted to acknowledge the potential judgments of Stevens and Williamson against the Pond brothers, and perhaps a spirit of competitiveness. Lord, will you forgive any heritage of academic  or religious pride stemming from  them forward to us if this is the case? Will you forgive the stinging pain of criticism towards or counter-judgments from the Ponds, the Dakotas, these first six students, or any other pertinent unaddressed party? Will You free the land  of Minnesota from these judgments, and bring the blessing of humility that we all have betrayed You, Your peoples, and our selves? Will You make us humble teachers and students of the “knowledge” You have revealed to us? Amen.

*The current URL is www.dipity.com/Minnesota/History/Minnesota-History/ and only works if typed, not pasted, in browser. It is worth the effort!

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