Open house for 2020 National Thanksgiving Turkey at Iowa State University

Cy, Iowa State University
The public is invited to visit Corn and Cob, the 2020 National Thanksgiving Turkey and alternate, respectively, during an open house Nov. 6, at Iowa State.

AMES, Iowa – For the past year and first time in school history, Iowa State University has served as the home of the official 2020 National Thanksgiving Turkey following last year’s National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation at the White House.

The public is invited to view the 2020 official Thanksgiving Turkey and alternate bird, raised by an Iowa State alumnus, this Saturday, Nov. 6, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Iowa State.

“We have enjoyed having these national Thanksgiving icons on 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 that is currently under construction,” said Dr. Dan Thomson, professor and chair of the Department of Animal Science at Iowa State.

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

Ron Kardel, a 1974 farm operation graduate of Iowa State, served as the 2020 chairman of the National Turkey Federation. Iowa is the seventh largest turkey producing state in the nation with 130 turkey farmers and the fifth largest state for turkey processing. The turkey industry is responsible for $10.64 billion in total economic activity throughout Iowa.

Animal science students, faculty and College of Veterinary Medicine faculty and students have all contributed to the care of these National Thanksgiving Turkeys.

Katelyn Boeding, a senior in agricultural communications and student president of the Poultry Interest Group at Iowa State, said, “These turkeys and the educational displays have helped inform students and the public about the turkey industry in Iowa while adding to the strong poultry curriculum at Iowa State."

West Liberty Foods contributed educational displays for the turkeys’ public viewing area. Please visit the 2020 National Thanksgiving Turkey webpage for more details about the Nov. 6 open house and current visiting protocols.