How Indiana’s Turkey Checkoff Program is Raising the Value for Turkey Producers

[[{“value”:”Four-year-old Ellie Clayton meets “Peanut Butter” and “Jelly” at the Purdue Ag Alumni Fish Fry. Photo courtesy of Tom Campbell / Purdue University.


If you’re an Indiana grain and livestock producer, you’re well aware of the respective state and national check-off programs that support your industry. Indiana’s turkey producers also have a checkoff program called the Indiana Turkey Market Development Council.

“We use the turkey check-off program funds to support Indiana turkey overall,” says Becky Joniskan, who serves as the Executive Director of the Indiana Turkey Market Development Council. She is also President of the Indiana State Poultry Association.

The checkoff collects 3/100 of a penny ($0.0003) per pound net live weight of turkeys sold in Indiana.

Becky Joniskan, President of the Indiana State Poultry Association. She also serves as Executive Director of the Indiana Turkey Market Development Council, which oversees Indiana’s turkey checkoff program. Photo: C.J. Miller / Hoosier Ag Today.

“About 75 percent of [checkoff funds] go to the National Turkey Federation to help support activities on a national level to advocate for turkey, support research and development, and add new markets for turkey more broadly,” she says. “In Indiana, we use the remainder of that fund to make sure that people are aware of turkey production here in Indiana. We also support research conducted by Purdue University’s poultry professors and provide support to organizations like Indiana FFA and Indiana 4-H.”

Joniskan says the checkoff has set up a website to help bring attention to Indiana’s turkey producers and the state’s turkey industry. is our Indiana-specific landing pad that features lots of turkey recipes and information about turkey farming,” says Joniskan. “Plus, we profile ‘Peanut Butter’ and ‘Jelly’—the two turkeys that were ‘pardoned’ by President Biden at the White House before Thanksgiving in 2021.”

She adds that the Indiana Turkey Market Development Council is helping to promote a big event that is coming to the Johnson County Fairgrounds later this summer.

“The National Turkey Federation sponsors a program called Turkey Smoke that helps celebrate and encourage people to consider turkey when they are grilling and barbecuing,” says Joniskan. “For the second year, we are going to host a Turkey Smoke event through the Hoosier Barbecue Classic in Franklin on June 7th and 8th. This event is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society and features the country’s top competitors, so these are serious barbecue folks. It will be really delicious and interesting to see what they do with our cuts of Indiana turkey.”

Joniskan is also representing Indiana’s turkey and poultry sector as part of the USDA’s trade mission to New Delhi, India from April 22-25.

“The U.S. Trade Representative and others in Washington were recently able work with India to reduce their tariffs on U.S. products from 30 percent to 5 percent,” says Joniskan. “Indiana is the nation’s largest producer of duck—we produce 60 percent of the nation’s duck. Indiana is also number three in the U.S. for turkey production, so it seems very appropriate that as that door opens, we are there to greet our Indian customers and explore how our products can make it to their shores, into their culture and become more of their cuisine. I’m excited to be traveling to India and look forward to representing Indiana’s turkey producers.”

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Click below to hear C.J. Miller’s full conversation with Becky Joniskan, President of Indiana State Poultry Association, as they talk more about the ways that Indiana’s turkey checkoff program is supporting Indiana’s turkey producers.