Turkeys headed to DC for presidential pardon

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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HARRISONBURG, Va. – A pair of tom turkeys raised by Cargill in Rockingham County, Va., have a date with the US president.

The lucky birds are the 2012 National Thanksgiving Turkeys that will be pardoned by President Barack Obama Nov. 21 during the annual ceremony at the White House. The turkeys weighing approximately 40 lbs. each will be given a celebratory send-off to Washington, DC from West Rockingham Ruritan Park on Nov. 19. The National Thanksgiving Turkey motorcade, accompanied by a police escort, will head to the nation’s capital where the turkeys will spend two nights at the W Hotel before being pardoned at the White House the day before Thanksgiving.

“As Americans, we have a lot to be thankful for, including abundant good food, and this is an opportunity to acknowledge the start of the holiday season in an enjoyable and patriotic way that involves America’s First Family,” said Joel Brandenberger, National Turkey Federation president. “The American turkey industry is proud to be part of this very special tradition.”

The pardoned turkeys, whose names will be selected by the White House, will then reside at the George and Martha Washington estate in Mount Vernon, Va.

“Having been part of Virginia turkey production for many years, I know the passion, dedication and hard work people in Virginia’s poultry industry bring to the raising of safe, nutritious, affordable and high quality turkey for American’s to enjoy year round,” said Steve Willardsen, president of Cargill, Inc.’s turkey business based in Wichita, Kan.

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