Jennie-O’s Turkey Police

Shawnne and I went food shopping today.  It was a nice day and tomorrow promised another in an endless series of winter storms, so we decided to combine a birding run along with the shopping.  Normally we take the back roads from our house on Lake Beauty, we go to County Rd 1 in Morrison County, connect with State Highway 10 in Randall and go South to Little Falls.  One of those back roads is 180th Street in Culdrum Township. It is just East of the Morrison County border.  It is a good paved road and has been snow free much of the Winter.  We have been seeing Horned Larks all along this road since March 1st.  Today we saw them almost at the start of the road. We pulled over and tried to see if we could get a better look.  Shawnne was trying to pull off the road since a white pickup truck seemed to be trying to pass. 

The pickup wasn’t trying to pass after all.   Once it stopped next to our car, a young woman got out of the truck and accosted us.  Shawnne asked what she wanted and who she was. The women simply said she is going to have to report us to her ‘corporate office’.  The area we were parked by has poultry barns that we assumed were for Turkeys.  It turns out we were right.  The area has some signage that seems to indicate that people shouldn’t approach but it isn’t at all clear. It doesn’t have anything about not looking, but in fact we weren’t looking at the barns at all, we were looking at birds along the road.

After a few harsh words, it turns out she works for Jennie-O, a Minnesota turkey processor. At no point did she tell us to stop what we were doing or even tell us what we were doing that is offensive to her or her corporate masters.   Anyone who goes out bird watching for any length of time will get stopped by curious people and even police.  In NJ I was once told that I couldn’t stop on a rather empty road to look at the perched Eagles.

In any event we made a complaint through Jennie-O’s website.  Shawnne posted  on Facebook about our adventure and one person suggested they may be worried about animal rights activists.  In any event this person might have had reason to complain if we were on the property, but we weren’t.

As Bugs Bunny would say about this woman ‘what a maroon’.

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2 Responses to Jennie-O’s Turkey Police

  1. Shawnne says:

    This was most certainly a strange experience for us. We were sitting in our car with our binoculars looking at Horned Larks. Suddenly this woman gets out of her truck. My first reaction was to roll down the window and tell her we are bird watching. It took 3 tries for her to tell us she works for Jennie’O! Jerry sent an email to the corporate office which is going to corroborate whatever story she told them. I don’t think anything is going to come of this!

  2. Jerry says:

    Jennie-O did respond: “Dear Mr. & Mrs. McKenna:

    Thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention. Because our farms are located in rural, sometimes isolated areas, we do ask our employees to be vigilant and on guard for trespassers and/or suspicious activity that could pose a threat to our physical facilities or to the biosecurity of our turkeys. Our employee did report this incident, but it appears from your description of events that she may have been overzealous in her approach with you. It is not our intent to offend members of the public, so please accept my apologies. I will relay these concerns to our farm management team and ask them to take appropriate action. Please feel free to contact me at the phone number below if you have any questions.


    Pat Solheid
    Vice President, Human Resources & Administration
    Jennie-O Turkey Store “

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