The 2019 Presidential Flock was raised under the supervision of NTF Chairman Kerry Doughty by Butterball contract grower Wellie Jackson of North Carolina. North Carolina is the second largest turkey-producing state in the United States.
After much anticipation, Bread and Butter were selected from the flock as the Presidential Turkeys and ventured to Washington, D.C., for an official visit to the nation’s capital. While in Washington, D.C., the turkeys stayed at the historic Willard InterContinental, adjacent to the White House grounds. They seemed to thoroughly enjoy their stay as the guests of honor.
On November 26, Doughty presented the National Thanksgiving Turkey named “Butter” to President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump during the 2019 National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation in the White House Rose Garden. As part of this longstanding tradition, “Butter” and his alternate, “Bread,” received a formal pardon from the president, and the turkeys now reside at Gobblers Rest on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.
Virginia Tech, home of the “HokieBird,” is where the National Thanksgiving Turkey and alternate roost following the White House presentation. The turkeys are cared for by veterinarians and students of Virginia Tech’s Animal and Poultry Sciences Department at “Gobblers Rest,” an enclosure located inside the Livestock Judging Pavilion on campus.
For those interested in a closer look, the public can visit Gobblers Rest and learn about the university’s teaching, research and outreach programs in animal and poultry sciences and veterinary medicine.
The turkeys’ presence at Virginia Tech helps to further promote the importance of modern animal agriculture, the role our land-grant research universities play in developing techniques to help feed a hungry world and the historic observance of the traditions of Thanksgiving.