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Purdue to house pardoned National Thanksgiving Turkey

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National Turkey Federation Chairman Phil Seger presented the National Thanksgiving Turkey named “Peanut Butter” to President Joe Biden during the National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation. “Peanut Butter” and his alternate, “Jelly,” received a formal pardon from the president and now reside on the campus of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. The National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation is a time-honored American tradition dating back to 1947.

The 2021 National Thanksgiving Turkey and alternate were raised in Dubois County, Indiana, by turkey grower Andrea Welp under the supervision of Seger. Seger serves as Vice President of Live Turkey Operations for Farbest Farms Inc., which is headquartered in Jasper, Indiana. While in Washington, D.C., Peanut Butter and Jelly stayed at the historic Willard InterContinental Hotel near the White House.

Purdue University’s Department of Animal Sciences in the College of Agriculture will provide a home and care for the National Thanksgiving Turkey and alternate. The turkeys will now live at Purdue’s Animal Science Research and Education Center, where they will reside in a separate enclosed indoor setting with access to a shaded grassy area.

The poultry industry in Indiana is a major contributor to its agriculture economy. Indiana is the fourth largest turkey producing state in the nation and ranks first in duck production and second in egg production. The poultry industry contributes more than $12 billion in total economic activity to Indiana and employs more than 12,000 people.

Karen Plaut, the Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture, emphasized the importance of Purdue Agriculture’s connection to Indiana poultry. “Purdue Agriculture’s animal sciences faculty and Extension educators have a long history with the Indiana poultry industry, including working alongside the Indiana Turkey Market Development Council and Indiana State Poultry Association. We value the importance and potential of our collaborations,” she said.

Dr. Marisa Erasmus spoke about this opportunity to educate people about turkeys. “Although turkeys are an important American cultural tradition, most people do not know much about turkey production and management, so this is an amazing chance for us to increase awareness and knowledge of turkeys’ behavior, personalities, and welfare.” 

You can follow the turkeys’ trip to the White House and back home again to Indiana on social media.

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