Meet Corn and Cob

From Farmhouse to White House

turkey in Rose Garden
2020 NTF Chairman Ron Kardel and his wife, Susie, present Corn to the President and First Lady.

The 2020 Presidential Flock was raised under the supervision of NTF Chairman Ron Kardel. Kardel is a sixth-generation Iowa farmer and raises turkeys, corn and soybeans on his family farm in Walcott, Iowa. He has farmed full-time for the past 45 years and is a founder and vice chairman of the board of West Liberty Foods, LLC, a grower-owned cooperative. Iowa is the seventh largest turkey-producing state in the United States. 

After much anticipation, Corn and Cob 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.

Corn and Cob
Corn and Cob are the guests of honor at the Willard InterContinental.

On November 24, Kardel presented the National Thanksgiving Turkey named “Corn” to President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump during the 2020 National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation in the White House Rose Garden. As part of this longstanding tradition, “Corn” and his alternate, “Cob,” received a formal pardon from the president, and the turkeys now reside on the campus of Iowa State University in Ames.

Corn and Cob in Retirement

Iowa State University is where the National Thanksgiving Turkey and alternate roost following the White House presentation. The turkeys are cared for by veterinarians and students of Iowa State’s Animal and Poultry Sciences Department. 

Corn and Cob visit Cy at the Iowa State University poultry farm. (Christopher Gannon/Iowa State University)

For those interested in a closer look, the public can visit Corn and Cob and learn about the university’s teaching, research and outreach programs in animal and poultry sciences and veterinary medicine.

The turkeys’ presence at Iowa State 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.