Skip to main content

NC State Selected as Home for 2022 National Thanksgiving Turkeys

two white broad-breasted turkeys on grass
The 2022 National Thanksgiving Turkey and alternate, Chocolate and Chip.

North Carolina State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) has been selected as the new home to the official National Thanksgiving Turkey and its alternate, Chocolate and Chip, following the annual National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation at the White House on Nov. 21. This is NC State’s first time serving as the home of the National Thanksgiving Turkey.

While in Washington, the National Turkey Federation formally presented President Joseph R. Biden Jr. with the two turkeys, marking 75 years of the White House turkey presentation tradition. The broad-breasted white turkeys are North Carolina natives, raised at Circle S Ranch in Monroe, North Carolina, by 2022 National Turkey Federation chairman Ronnie Parker. Parker is also the general manager of Circle S Ranch.

Following the event, the National Thanksgiving Turkey and its alternate arrived in Raleigh, where they will reside in special private quarters at NC State’s Lake Wheeler Road facilities under the expert care of university poultry specialists and students. CALS has one of only six poultry science departments in the United States, the Prestage Department of Poultry Science, and has a rich history of supporting North Carolina poultry farmers, students and the industry.

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

Peter Ferket, interim head of the Prestage Department of Poultry Science in CALS, will work alongside Jesse Grimes, NC State Extension turkey specialist, and others to care for the birds.

“We’re honored and excited for the opportunity to care for the National Thanksgiving Turkey and his’ wingman,’” said Ferket. “We’ve prepared a first-class retirement home for our fine-feathered friends to live out their days in fame and comfort. “ 

In addition to 100-square-foot, climate-controlled pens for both birds, CALS poultry experts are working on a biosecure mobile coop. Upon completion, it will make it possible to transport the turkeys to events like the North Carolina State Fair and CALS Farm Animal Days for public viewing and educational outreach.

“The most important part of this whole partnership is the education component,” said Grimes. “These turkeys will help us educate students and inform the public about modern farming practices, North Carolina agriculture and the importance of the poultry industry.”

Agriculture is the state’s top industry, generating more than $90 billion annually. North Carolina ranks 2nd in the nation for turkey production and 1st in total poultry production. The poultry industry accounts for nearly 150,000 jobs across more than 5,000 farms in North Carolina. 

The presentation of the National Thanksgiving Turkey has been observed since 1947, when President Harry Truman first received a live turkey from the National Turkey Federation.