The 2023 National Thanksgiving Turkeys were raised in Willmar, Minnesota, under the direction of NTF Chairman Steve Lykken. Lykken is a 31-year veteran in the turkey industry and currently serves as President of Jennie-O Turkey Stores.
After much anticipation Liberty and Bell were selected from the flock as the Presidential Turkeys and journeyed 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 thoroughly enjoyed their stay as the guests of honor. The Presidential Turkeys were introduced to the public during a special media event at the hotel.
On November 20, Lykken presented the National Thanksgiving Turkeys named “Liberty” to President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. during the 2023 National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation at the White House South Lawn. As part of this longstanding tradition, Liberty and Bell received a formal pardon from the president, and the turkeys now reside at the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences is now where Liberty and Bell spend their days. The Presidential Turkeys remain under the experienced care of veterinarians, faculty and students. These special turkeys will help highlight the university’s teaching, research and outreach programs in animal and poultry sciences and veterinary medicine.
The turkeys’ presence at the University of Minnesota 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 Thanksgiving traditions.