Joe Biden will pardon this year’s turkey in clear skies

Two turkeys from a North Carolina ranch are getting a presidential pardon that will prevent the birds from ever ending up on a Thanksgiving table.

President Joe Biden is set to attend the annual tradition on Monday under what is expected to be sunny skies but cool temperatures in Washington.

The National Turkey Federation hosts the event and chose Circle S Ranch outside of Charlotte, North Carolina to provide the animals for the annual tradition.

The known beginnings of the White House tradition are somewhat hazy. While today’s ceremony is believed to have been cemented under President George HW Bush, the White House Historical Association believes the beginnings of some type of ceremony may date back to President Abraham Lincoln in 1863.

After this year’s pardon, the recipients will be transferred back to Tar Heel State to spend the rest of their days under the care of North Carolina State University.

In addition to an outstanding meteorology program, the Raleigh-based university is home to a world-class agricultural center that would make any bird envious.

“NC State is home to some of the world’s finest poultry and animal husbandry professionals and facilities,” said John Dole, NC State interim dean. “We deliver excellence in teaching, research and consulting to meet the needs of industry and grow our state. The birds couldn’t be in better hands.”

NC state officials said it is the first time that its center has served as a home for a pardoned turkey. Last year’s award winners, aptly named “Peanut Butter” and “Jelly,” spend their days at Indiana’s Purdue University with lots of indoor spaces and open fields.

The names of this year’s birds remain a closely guarded secret, but NC state officials said when they arrive at their agriculture and life sciences college, the couple will have a 100-square-foot, air-conditioned pen to make them comfortable.

Despite the extravagant accommodations, it won’t just be relaxation for the couple. University experts said they plan to build a biosecure mobile coop to transport the turkeys to fairs and other public events for viewing and education.

This year's presidential herd en route to Washington DC ahead of Monday's turkey pardon ceremony.
This year’s presidential herd en route to Washington DC ahead of Monday’s turkey pardon ceremony.
Instagram: National Turkey Fed

“The most important part of this entire partnership is the educational component,” explained Jesse Grimes, a turkey specialist with the NC State Extension. “These turkeys will help us educate students and educate the public on modern farming practices, North Carolina farming and the importance of the poultry industry.”

North Carolina is one of more than half a dozen states known to be home to major turkey producers.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, the country produces more than 200 million turkeys annually and has an economic impact of more than $24 billion. Joe Biden will pardon this year’s turkey in clear skies


JACLYN DIAZ is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. JACLYN DIAZ joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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