Wednesday, December 6, 2023

President Biden gives ‘pardon’ to National Thanksgiving turkeys

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WASHINGTON — National Turkey Federation Chairman Steve Lykken, Jennie-O Turkey Store, presented the National Thanksgiving Turkey named “Liberty” to President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Nov. 20 during the National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation at the White House.

Liberty, along with alternate turkey “Bell,” received a formal pardon from the holiday table and will now reside at the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences in St. Paul, Minn. This year’s presentation marked the 76th year of this time-honored American tradition dating back to 1947.

“We appreciate President Biden for warmly welcoming the National Turkey Federation, and my esteemed colleagues and associates from the Jennie-O Team to the White House earlier today,” Lykken said. “This is a busy time of year for our industry and we’re grateful for the turkey producers and farmers that deliver food to our tables this holiday and every day.”

The 2023 National Thanksgiving Turkeys were raised in Willmar, Minn., under the direction of Lykken, who is a 31-year veteran in the turkey industry and currently serves as president of Jennie-O Turkey Store. Lykken was joined in presenting the National Thanksgiving Turkey by Jose Rojas, assistant vice president of live production at Jennie-O Turkey Store.

While in Washington, D.C., Liberty and Bell stayed at the historic Willard InterContinental. Following their visit to the White House, the turkeys will retire to the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences in St. Paul where they will receive housing, daily care, and access to veterinary services under the experienced care of veterinarians, faculty and poultry science students.

NTF’s participation in the National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation began in 1947 with President Harry Truman. It has continued for 76 years across 14 successive administrations.

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