White House Thanksgiving turkey to come from South Dakota

MGN FILE PHOTO: Apple, the National Thanksgiving Turkey, at a ceremony where President Barack Obama pardoned the turkey in the Rose Garden of the White House in 2012.

HURON, S.D. (AP) – The White House's annual Thanksgiving turkey for the first time is set to come from South Dakota.

KELO-AM reports that the finalist turkeys are getting fattened up in a special facility at a Beadle County farm. South Dakota Poultry Industries Association executive director David Zeman says the birds are getting fed by hand.

Zeman says the farm's location isn't being publicized to make sure crowds don't come to gawk. The best two turkeys will be taken in November to Washington for President Donald Trump.

The official pardoning of White House turkeys has a foggy history. President Lincoln supposedly granted clemency in 1863 to a turkey but most turkeys sent to the White House ended up on holiday menus until President Kennedy’s term.

During Nixon’s and Carter’s administrations, some turkeys were pardoned and sent to farms or zoos. It wasn’t until the Regan administration that the turkey pardoning ceremony became a regular practice.