Minnesota turkey, alternate heading to Washington, D.C., for presidential pardon


A Minnesota-raised turkey and his alternate are heading to the White House to be pardoned by President Barack Obama.

WDAY reported that Peter Gruhl is driving this year's presidential turkeys from Badger, Minnesota, to Washington, D.C. Gruhl and the birds are expected to arrive in in the nation's capitol Monday.

The turkeys are from the John Burkel family farm in Badger, which is located in northwest Minnesota.

Gruhl told the station that he's made the 1,500-mile trek three times before, and the trip is definitely worth the time.

"It's an honor for the whole town. The community, small town Badger, Minnesota," Gruhl told WDAY.

Burkel told the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead that after the presidential ceremony, the turkeys will head off to George Washington's farm in Mount Vernon to live out their natural lives.

While Burkel's turkeys will have their necks saved by the president, countless others will not be so lucky.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal said farmers will raise 242 million turkeys this year.

While the amount seems high, turkey production is actually down from 2012, when 253.5 of the birds were raised, the National Turkey Federation said.

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Gov. Mark Dayton was sending off Ted the turkey at the Capitol Friday when the free bird escaped from his wire cage and made a break for it. Ted was eventually apprehended and will travel to Washington D.C. next week for an official pardon from President Obama.