Turkey Pardon 2020: Meet the two Walcott, Iowa turkeys heading to the White House

Local News

A Walcott, Iowa farming couple is getting the chance of a lifetime.

They get to see the turkeys they raised take part in the National Thanksgiving Presentation at the nation’s capital.

The two birds will leave Saturday for Washington, D.C.

The turkeys were raised in a “presidential suite” on the farm of turkey producers Ron and Susie Kardel.

They will also be flying out tomorrow for the ceremony.

This marks the eighth time Iowa has provided the presidential bird.

“It is like winning the lottery, but we knew it’s been coming for 10 years,” says Susie Kardel.

The turkey farmers getting the news five months ago. Since then, they have been working hard to make sure the turkeys were White House ready.

They were raised like every other flock, but with a slight twist.

“The care of these is only unique in the fact that they had their own special building. It was heated, and it was air-conditioned,” says Ron Kardel.

The sixth-generation farmers say being a part of the tradition is a honor, and it shows all the hard work they put into farming.

Ron Kardel says, “This is a process that we have gone through for probably pretty much our entire adult life to get to this point.”

“We knew that it was a possibility it wouldn’t happen. We got a call only four or five days ago that it was on, so that may be our exciting moment. Yes!” says Susie Kardel.

Meanwhile, Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig took time to mention the importance of Iowa farmers being recognized on a national level.

Naig says, “It’s such an honor to be able to have Iowa shine in the spotlight in this way.”

“It’s exciting, and we’ve got a great patriotic bird here. Red, white and blue, and you can’t get any more patriotic than that. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to do it. We’ll see everybody in DC,” says Ron Kardel.

Iowa State University built a state-of-the-art facility for the turkeys to be housed when they return from Washington, D.C.

They will be under the care and guidance of the Animal Science Department.

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