Gov. Kim Reynolds pardoned two turkeys Tuesday at Terrace Hill in Des Moines, continuing a longstanding Thanksgiving tradition.
“Many families across our nation will have turkey on the table Thursday,” Reynolds said. “Iowa produces about 12.1 million turkeys on about 130 farms each year, so there’s a good chance those birds were raised right here in our state. That’s why I’m proud to celebrate the industry and upcoming Thanksgiving holiday by pardoning two turkeys: Spuds and Gravy.”
Spuds and Gravy were raised by third generation turkey farmer Russ Yoder from Wayland. His family’s involvement in the turkey industry started more than 80 years ago. Today, the family raises nearly a quarter million turkeys annually. Yoder has served on the Iowa Turkey Federation board for seven years. He currently serves as president.
“As we’re counting our blessings this Thursday, it’s important to acknowledge our farm families,” Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg said. “They work tirelessly to provide food and fuel not only to Iowans, but also a growing world population.”
The total number of turkeys raised in the United States is forecast at 245 million for 2017. This year, Iowa ranked seventh in U.S. turkey production and fifth in turkey processing. The state has two turkey processing plants: Tyson Foods in Storm Lake and West Liberty Foods in West Liberty.
Spuds and Gravy will move from Yoder’s farm to Living History Farms in Urbandale, where they will live the rest of their natural lives.