Surrounded by corn fields and farmland, the 2016 National Thanksgiving Turkey is Iowa-raised.

Surrounded by corn fields and farmland, the 2016 National Thanksgiving Turkey is Iowa-raised.

It all begins on a turkey farm...

The National Turkey Federation chairman designates a home state turkey farmer to raise that year’s National Thanksgiving Turkey, representative of the quality standards for conventional production of turkey in the United States. Each year, the National Turkey Federation looks forward to the invitation from the White House to present the National Thanksgiving Turkey to the President of the United States.

The National Thanksgiving Turkey is raised much the same way as all conventionally grown turkeys: fed corn and soybeans, free to move about inside protective barns safe from predators and extreme weather.

The National Thanksgiving Turkey is raised much the same way as all conventionally grown turkeys: fed corn and soybeans, free to move about inside protective barns safe from predators and extreme weather.

(2014 class visit courtesy: Minnesota Turkey Growers Association)

The Presidential Flock

Among turkeys chosen for physical appearance and temperament, the best candidates become accustomed to being lifted onto a table-height platform draped with a linen cloth, while in the presence of small gatherings in a White House presentation.  

Connecting with history

Selection of one of these turkeys also evokes the historic tradition dating from the first presentations of a live turkey by the National Turkey Federation to President Harry S. Truman.  School children from the region are also invited to suggest names for the National Thanksgiving Turkey, which are announced later through the White House.

A growth experience

During the fall months leading up to November, members of the presidential flock may be visited by school children or brought to local classrooms as an educational component about the care and feeding of turkeys and life on a farm.