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Pardon Me, Corn

By Jane Whitmore - | Nov 27, 2020

It’s always fun to pay attention to the annual White House Turkey Pardon. This year the two turkeys came from Iowa – and they will return to Iowa, following the ceremonies.

When the two turkeys arrived in Washington, D.C. for the White House Turkey Pardon, they were guests in a suite at the Willard Hotel before their media debut. They were pampered in a luxurious way ahead of a Monday morning press conference where they were introduced to the rest of the country.

Incidentally, the turkeys names are Corn and Cob.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump presented the National Thanksgiving Turkey on Tuesday afternoon.

While the president pardoned Corn, having him become our National Thanksgiving Turkey, both will retire to their new home on the campus of Iowa State University.

For the past few years, the pardoned turkeys have gone to live at Virginia Tech. This year the turkeys are from Iowa and they will be going back to the Hawkeye State, according to the National Turkey Federation.

“This is a great opportunity to share with new audiences about turkey production and bring the turkeys back to their home state. Virginia Tech has been a wonderful partner, and we look forward to continuing to work with them in the future. Peas and Carrots and Bread and Butter still reside at Gobblers Rest,” said a federation spokesperson.

Corn and Cob, the celebrity birds will be available to greet guests at Iowa State University beginning Saturday, Deb. 5, at 10 a.m.

“We are excited to welcome these national Thanksgiving icons onto our animal science farms. Iowa State University is invested in supporting the poultry and turkey industries through teaching and research as evidenced in our new state-of-the-art turkey production facility to be built in the Spring of 2021. We welcome people to come view the newest arrivals at Iowa State,” said Dr. Dan Thomson, professor and chair of the Department of Animal Science at Iowa State University.

The 2020 Presidential flock was raised by Iowa turkey producers Ron and Susie Kardel from Walcott. Two turkeys were selected from their special flock to travel to Washington, D.C. to participate in this annual Thanksgiving tradition. One bird, Corn, was named the National Thanksgiving Turkey and both pardoned turkeys will return to live out the rest of their days at Iowa State University.

Ron Kardel is a 1974 farm operation graduate of Iowa State. He is currently the chairman of the National Turkey Federation.

The National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation is a tradition that first took off in 1947, according to the White House. The first president to grant a pardon came much later — President George H. W. Bush was the first to formally grant the bird a Presidential pardon in 1989.