CLINTON, N.C. (WECT) - This year’s National Thanksgiving Turkeys, which will make an appearance next week at The White House, are coming from a farm in Sampson County, North Carolina.
The two turkeys come from the farm of Butterball contract farmer Wellie Jackson, who received the honor of raising the 2019 Presidential Flock of ten turkeys. Jackson, who has grown turkeys for the company at his farm in Clinton since 2004, said it’s the first time he’s had the honor.
“I’ve never done anything remotely like this in all the years I’ve grown turkeys,” Jackson said at Friday morning’s sendoff ceremony. “This has been an experience completely different from what everyday turkey growing is.”
The two turkeys from Jackson’s farm will be part of the 72nd annual National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation next Tuesday afternoon at the White House. According to Leslee Oden of the National Turkey Federation, the event began under President Harry S. Truman in 1947 and for years included a traditional turkey dinner. In 1989, President George H. W. Bush changed the event to feature presidential pardons for the National Thanksgiving Turkeys.
The two birds making the trip to Washington, DC are about 19 weeks old, and weigh approximately 45 pounds each. They will receive their names at the White House ceremony. Once they are pardoned by President Trump, they will spend the rest of their lives in retirement at Gobbler’s Rest on the campus of Virginia Tech University.