Tag Archives: poultry

National Thanksgiving Turkey landing at Virginia Tech Gobblers Rest again

For the third consecutive year, the turkeys “pardoned” by the president are coming to Virginia Tech. A public open house to meet the two newest members of Hokie Nation will be held Nov. 23 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Livestock Judging Pavilion at 445 Plantation Road in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Over the years, Virginia Tech’s research, teaching, and outreach programs have been a driver of the U.S. poultry industry and have helped make turkey a staple of the American diet.

Now the university can add another feather to its cap: It will once again be home to the National Thanksgiving Turkey and its alternate “wingman.”

For the third consecutive year, the famous birds will make the journey from the White House, where the turkeys are “pardoned” by the president in a formal ceremony, to Blacksburg’s Gobblers Rest, where they will live out their days and get to know the HokieBird.

A public open house to meet the two newest members of Hokie Nation will be held Nov. 23 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Livestock Judging Pavilion at 445 Plantation Road in  Blacksburg, Virginia. You can follow the progression of the birds’ journey from the White House to Blacksburg on the College of Agriculture and Life Science’s FacebookTwitter, and Instagram pages and post your own photos of the birds using the hashtag #PresidentialTurkeys.

“We love that the birds are coming back to Blacksburg to roost once again,” said Rami Dalloul, a world-renowned poultry immunologist in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences, who a few years ago sequenced the turkey genome. That discovery opened the door to new levels of understanding of the birds, as well as genetics in general.

“Virginia Tech and the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences have been great partners over the last two years, and we are excited that the National Thanksgiving Turkey and its alternate are again returning to Gobblers Rest,” said National Turkey Federation chairman Jeff Sveen.

This year, the birds are coming from a farm near Huron, South Dakota. After two birds are chosen based on appearance and temperament, they head to Washington, D.C., where they stay at a hotel near the White House as part of a series of media events leading up to the presentation of the National Thanksgiving Turkey. The college will stream the formal ceremony during a Facebook Live event on Tuesday around 1 p.m. People can participate in a contest to name the birds on the White House’s official social media channels.

The event not only serves as the opening of the holiday season, but also reminds America of the history and role of agriculture, from feeding the world to growing the economy.

Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump have pardoned two groups of birds that came to live in Blacksburg.  Tater and Tot — the presidential turkeys from 2016 — and Drumstick and Wishbone — 2017’s pardoned turkeys — received world-class care and lived happy lives during their time in Blacksburg. They were famous around the world, as people often stopped by their home at Gobblers Rest to say hello and snap a photo. All four birds have died, which is not surprising given the short life expectancy of domestic turkeys.

The National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation started in 1947. The National Turkey Federation’s first chairman, Virginian Charlie Wampler Sr., was among the first to present a live turkey to President Harry S. Truman.

Years before, in 1922, Wampler was a Virginia Cooperative Extension agent who sought advice from the head of Virginia Tech’s Department of Poultry Science, A.L. Dean, on how to raise turkeys. In the following years, Wampler went on to create a growing business while Dean advised Wampler on turkey-raising techniques. Wampler is regarded as the father of the modern turkey industry and founded the National Turkey Federation in 1940.

Today, poultry makes up the largest sector of Virginia’s agricultural portfolio with more $1 billion in annual cash receipts. The industry provides a direct economic impact of $5,471,601,400 and overall contributes $13,248,985,000 in economic activity in the commonwealth, according to the Virginia Poultry Federation.

The Virginia Tech Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine help expand the state’s economy by conducting innovative research to benefit industry and educating the next generation of poultry scientists and veterinarians.

— Written by Zeke Barlow

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Honorees to be inducted into Virginia Livestock Hall of Fame on Virginia Tech campus

Portraits of Olive Kendrick, Richard H.L. Chichester III, Allen Harper, Gary Minnish, and David Notter.

(From L to R top) Olive Kendrick Britt, Richard H.L. Chichester III, Allen Foster Harper (From L to R bottom) Gary L. Minish, and David Notter

Five individuals will be inducted into the Virginia Livestock Hall of Fame for 2015 at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24, at the College of Agriculture and Life Science’s Alphin-Stuart Livestock Arena on Virginia Tech’s campus. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.

The ceremony will include an unveiling of the portraits of the 2015 honorees, which will be permanently displayed in the arena. The new Hall of Fame members, who hail from academia and industry, have demonstrated outstanding and uncommon contributions to the livestock industry.

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Virginia Cooperative Extension provides tips on protecting bird flocks from avian flu

 

BLACKSBURG, Va., June 1, 2015 – Virginia Cooperative Extension is reminding people with backyard chickens and small commercial flocks to remain vigilant to protect their animals from the avian flu.

To date the current outbreak includes two strains of the virus known as H5N2 and H5N8, neither of which has spread to Virginia. Its closest proximity to the commonwealth has been in wild birds in Kentucky and a backyard flock in Indiana. It is not thought to be a threat to human health.

However, agricultural authorities are requesting that backyard, hobbyist, and small, local poultry producers take precautions to prevent the flu from spreading to Virginia.

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Biosecurity efforts support industry

TurkeysVirginia’s poultry and egg industries provide a direct economic impact of more than $3.6 billion to Virginia’s economy, according to the Virginia Poultry Federation. With the continuing threat of disease outbreaks in the poultry industry, including the highly publicized avian influenza, poultry growers are taking no chances. Read More

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Extension launches Animal Health Network to deliver critical information to backyard farmers

Chickens

Owners of backyard flocks and herds are among the most difficult to alert about disease outbreaks. The Animal Health Network is designed specifically to reach this audience.

The agriculture and food system is an extensive, open, interconnected, diverse, and complex network. Any disease, pest, or poisonous agent — whether it occurs naturally, is unintentionally introduced, or is intentionally introduced by acts of terrorism — could potentially cause catastrophic health effects or economic losses to the United States.

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