North Carolina State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) will host the official National Thanksgiving Turkey and Vice President after the annual National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation at the White House on November 21. This will be the first time NC State will act as the home of National Thanksgiving Turkey.
While in Washington, the National Turkey Federation will officially present President Joseph R. Biden Jr. with the two turkeys to celebrate 75 years of White House turkey presentations. The broad-breasted white turkeys are North Carolina natives and were raised by National Turkey Federation 2022 Chairman Ronnie Parker at Circle S Ranch in Monroe, North Carolina. Parker is also the executive director of Circle S Ranch.
Following the event, the National Thanksgiving Turkey and Deputy will arrive in Raleigh where they will reside in special private accommodation at the NC State’s Lake Wheeler Road facilities under the expert care of poultry specialists and university students. CALS, the Prestage Department of Poultry Science, is one of only six poultry science departments in the United States and has a long history of supporting North Carolina poultry farmers, students and industry.
“NC State is home to some of the world’s finest poultry and animal husbandry professionals and facilities,” said John Dole, interim dean of CALS. “We deliver excellence in teaching, research and consulting to meet the needs of industry and grow our state. The birds couldn’t be in better hands.”
Peter Ferket, interim chief of prestage poultry science at CALS, will work with NC State Extension turkey specialist Jesse Grimes and others to care for the birds.
“We are honored and excited to have the opportunity to take care of the National Thanksgiving Turkey and its ‘wingman,'” said Ferket. “We have prepared a first-class retirement home for our fine-feathered friends to spend their days in glory and comfort.”
In addition to 100 square meter air-conditioned pens for both birds, CALS poultry experts are working on a bio-secure mobile coop. Once complete, the turkeys will be able to be shipped to events such as the North Carolina State Fair and CALS Farm Animal Days for public display and educational work.
“The most important part of this whole partnership is the educational component,” Grimes said. “These turkeys will help us educate students and educate the public on modern farming practices, North Carolina farming and the importance of the poultry industry.”
Agriculture is the state’s most important industry, generating more than $90 billion each year. North Carolina ranks 2nd in turkey production and 1st in total poultry production nationally. The poultry industry provides nearly 150,000 jobs on more than 5,000 North Carolina farms.
The presentation of National Thanksgiving Turkey has been celebrated since 1947, when President Harry Truman first received a live turkey from the National Turkey Federation.