News Poultry Weather

Jennie-O Turkey loses employee, six barns to WI tornado


A tornado that touched down near Chetek, Wisconsin took the life of a longtime Jennie-O Turkey Store employee and damaged six turkey barns.

Forty-five-year-old Eric Gavin was at home getting ready for his job at the factory when the storm hit a northwestern Wisconsin mobile home park. More than two dozen individuals were injured in the storm.

Jennie-O also confirmed a turkey farm near Chetek’s Prairie Lake Estates mobile park suffered damage from Tuesday’s tornado.

A representative with Hormel told News 18 on Wednesday, estimates of the loss are not available as they are still assessing the damage, but six barns have either sustained damage or are a total loss. No bird loss numbers are available at this time.

Governor Scott Walker declared a State of Emergency for Barron, Jackson, and Rusk counties following tornadoes and damaging storms.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the devastating tornadoes that hit last night,” Governor Walker said. “I have instructed state agencies and the Wisconsin National Guard to help those affected by the storms as they recover and rebuild. I thank the Wisconsin National Guard, Wisconsin Emergency Management, and all state agencies for their coordinated response to this emergency.”

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