WASHINGTON — National Turkey Federation Chairman Jeff Sveen presented the National Thanksgiving Turkey named “Peas” to President Donald J. Trump on Nov. 20 during the annual National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation. The presentation is a time-honored American tradition, which is marking its 71st year since it began in 1947.
“Thanksgiving is a time of great American traditions, and today we continue a very special one — when a lucky turkey gets a presidential pardon,” Trump said. “In this grand tradition, I am pleased to announce that today’s lucky bird and guest of honor is Peas.”
“The winner of this vote was decided by a free and fair election conducted on the White House website,” Trump continued. “Unfortunately, Carrots refused to concede and demanded a recount. Carrots, I’m sorry to tell you, the result did not change.”
“This season of thanksgiving is a special time of year for Americans, and I am honored to be invited to the White House to present the National Thanksgiving Turkey to President Trump,” Sveen said. “The contributions of American farmers to our country — both in the past and today — are significant, and the National Turkey Federation’s time-honored tradition is a reminder of the hard work of generations of men and women to feed the world. May we all enter into this holiday season with a renewed sense of thankfulness.”
Sveen is the 2018 NTF chairman. He is also chairman of the board of Dakota Provisions and has worked with the turkey industry for more than 20 years. Sveen is a native South Dakotan and resides in Aberdeen, S.D., with his wife, Marcia. Their children and grandchildren, as well as Sveen’s 90-year-old father attended the National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation.
The turkeys were raised under the supervision of Sveen by turkey grower Ruben Waldner on a Hutterite Colony near Huron, S.D. The names for the birds were suggested by families and school children through South Dakota Tourism and the South Dakota Poultry Industry Association.
Jaindl’s Turkey Farm of Orefield, Pa., provided the president’s family with two dressed turkeys as part of the first family’s food donation to a local charity.
The two turkeys arrived in Washington, D.C., and stayed at the Willard InterContinental, adjacent to the White House grounds. The permanent home for “Peas” and alternate “Carrots” will be at Gobbler’s Rest on the campus of Virginia Tech in a custom-built enclosure inside the Poultry Science Department’s Livestock Pavilion.
The National Thanksgiving Turkey and its alternate will be available for the public to visit and learn about the university’s teaching, research and outreach programs in animal and poultry sciences and veterinary medicine.