BLOOMINGTON, Minn., December 1, 2011 — With nary a squawk, this year's national Thanksgiving turkey, a 45-pound bird from SFM client Willmar Poultry, received the annual presidential pardon from President Obama on the White House lawn Nov. 23.
The 19-week-old turkey named Liberty had been chosen from among 30 turkeys raised and trained by youths from Future Farmers of America in Willmar, Minn., as candidates for the presidential amnesty. The turkeys, apparently not averse to sticking their necks out, prepared for the White House press corps by submitting to noise and camera flashes.
"They also received the most important part of their media training—learning how to gobble without really saying anything," Obama said.
The turkey was presented to Obama by Richard Huisinga, executive vice president of Willmar Poultry and chair of the National Turkey Federation. Obama was accompanied by his daughters Sasha and Malia. Huisinga was accompanied by his wife Randi and three children.
SFM Risk Solutions provides workers' compensation third-party administration for Life-Science Innovations and its subsidiaries, which include Willmar Poultry, of Willmar, Minn. Minnesota produces more turkeys than any other state.
Liberty, whom Obama called "the luckiest bird on the face of the earth," retired following the pardoning ceremony to the livestock facility at George Washington's Mount Vernon home. Liberty will be on display through Jan. 6 in "Christmas at Mount Vernon."
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)