Center of Attention
The day before the White House presentation, the National Turkey Federation has held a photo opportunity in the chandelier-adorned hotel ballroom where the chairman presents the two turkeys to the invited Washington and international reporters. The chairman and turkey farmer also conduct one-on-one interviews during the photo opportunity.
As the schedule allows, pre-arranged in-suite interviews may be granted one at a time with selected reporters from major news outlets with the NTF chairman and farmer in the turkey’s hotel room.
In 2015, United Airlines flew the National Thanksgiving Turkey, its alternate as well as two other turkeys from the presidential flock to Washington, DC. Dulles International Airport and Reagan National Airport greeted the turkeys with celebration of Turkey in the Terminal.
On the same afternoon as the White House presentation, the other turkeys from the presidential flock traveled by Amtrak to New York City to appear at the New York Stock Exchange and CNBC Business News Network's Closing Bell
Recent custom continues to observe a “pardoning” of the National Thanksgiving Turkey and alternate. Both are transported to a university into the care of poultry science veterinarians. The National Turkey Federation is partnering with the Virginia Tech Poultry Science program to be the home of the 2018 turkeys.
The turkeys’ presence further promotes the connections of animal agriculture and the historic observance by the President of the United States noting the traditions of Thanksgiving, the opening of the holiday season and the role of agriculture among the nation’s many blessings.
Additionally, this partnership publicly elevates Virginia Tech’s poultry science, animal science, and veterinarian programs. The National Thanksgiving Turkey and alternate serve to showcase the modern poultry industry and assist in recruiting new leaders to choose a career path in the raising of turkeys.