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Dakota Provisions Emerging As ‘Funky, Fresh Turkey Company’

Dakota

Dakota Provisions is a vertically integrated company that takes turkeys “all the way to the market,” said Renee Robertson, head of marketing for the Huron, South Dakota-based business.

Dakota Provisions owns the entire process, which aids in controlling costs and helping with the supply chain.

“By being vertically integrated, we have less issues than some of the other manufacturers out there today within the meat poultry industry,” Robertson said.

Although vertically integrated with just turkey, the company also does further processing and private label with other species, which could include chicken or beef.

The recent IDDBA Expo in Atlanta was the largest show the company has attended since the COVID-19 pandemic began and the first where it has been able to serve food due to the easing of restrictions.

“We are very excited to be here and we’re having an amazing turnout,” Robertson said. “We’ve met some great people, had great networking opportunities and everyone loves our products, which we knew.”

Dakota Provisions opened in 2006 with 44 turkey growers from the Hutterite colonies. The Hutterites’ ancestors came to America from Germany in the 1800s. The company is farmer owned and now has more than 100 farmers.

All of them are self-sustained. Sustainability is a way of life, as they are family focused and want to continue to grow their legacy, Robertson said.

Dakota Provisions distributes nationally, working with large distributors and large customers. Dakota 44 is the company’s first consumer-facing brand, which it started developing in 2018 and launched in 2019. 

“I’m calling it now a soft launch, because COVID hit,” Robertson said.

As a result, Dakota 44 couldn’t enter right away into the retail market so it started selling direct to consumers, build brand awareness and get the products into people’s hands so they could go to their local retailers and ask that they carry them, Robertson explained.

“Dakota 44 is our premium brand, and it’s our premium brand because we raise our birds humanely, meaning they’ve got additional space to experience natural behaviors,” she said. “We also encourage rest each evening. By 6 p.m., we turn off the lights in all of our barns. 

“The whole methodology behind that is, as you continue to feed an animal like some manufacturers do, it’s more painful, it’s more stressful on the animal. And if you turn off lights and turn lights back on, the birds think, oh, it’s time to eat…so we turn off the lights at 6 p.m.”

Robertson, who has worked in the poultry industry for 22 years, said she was pleased to join Dakota Provisions because she had never “experienced this type of treatment and behaviors and culture.”

Customers can order products online and they will be shipped in compost-ready shipping materials. The company also has launched in some grocery stores in Minnesota, including Coborn’s, as well as some Kroger stores in Kentucky and Ohio. It is working with other retailers in the region.

“Right now, we’re in every category, if you take on our entire portfolio, besides dessert. But I’m working on it,” she said. “Fully cooked, frozen, we are also in the fresh meat cases, the delis and snacking. All our products are unique. There’s no one else out there like us as far as form and flavor.”

The company has some retail stores in South Dakota that’s under the Wyshbone name. They carry products from the farmers, including items such as cheese, pies or potpies. Orders can be placed at WyshboneMarket.com.

She said they were promoting their fully cooked frozen turkey fritters at the show, which is one of the company’s top sellers.

“We’re kind of funky, fresh,” Robertson said, “a funky, fresh turkey company.”

For more information, visit dakota44.com.

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