The National Turkey Federation chairman designates a home state turkey farmer to raise the “Presidential Flock” and National Thanksgiving Turkey, representative of the quality standards for conventional production of turkeys in the United States. Each year, the National Turkey Federation looks forward to an invitation from the White House to present the National Thanksgiving Turkey to the President of the United States.
The Presidential Flock is raised much the same as all turkeys marketed for U.S. consumers – protected from weather extremes and predators in a barn, free to strut about with constant access to water and a feed mix of corn and soybeans.
Turkeys are accustomed to their growers coming through the barn several times a day to check on them. The Presidential Flock is further prepared for the White House event at an early age by acclimating the turkeys to the sounds of a crowd, bright camera lights and standing comfortably on a table during the presentation. The turkeys often listen to music to help them get used to crowd noises. Physical appearance and temperament are also factors in selecting the two turkeys to travel to Washington, D.C., where one will become the National Thanksgiving Turkey and the other its alternate.
Leading up to the presentation of the National Thanksgiving Turkey, members of the Presidential Flock may be visited by school children or brought to local classrooms as an educational resource about the care and feeding of turkeys and life on a farm. The platform of this presentation allows NTF the opportunity to educate future generations on the role of agriculture.