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Iowa governor highlights turkey industry at turkey pardon

Gov. Kim Reynolds has pardoned two tom turkeys, continuing a longstanding Thanksgiving tradition celebrating Iowa’s turkey industry.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Kim Reynolds has pardoned two tom turkeys, continuing a longstanding Thanksgiving tradition celebrating Iowa’s turkey industry.

The male birds named Benjamin and Franklin will live at Living History Farms in Urbandale, a 500-acre open air history museum that demonstrates three centuries of Iowa farm life.

Reynolds held the annual event Tuesday at Terrace Hill, the governor’s residence, where she says she’ll spend thanksgiving cooking for her family. Several family members, including grandchildren, petted the turkeys after Reynolds read the proclamation freeing them from becoming a thanksgiving meal.

Iowa ranks seventh in U.S. turkey production, turning out more than 12 million turkeys annually on 130 farms. The state is fifth in turkey processing with plants in Storm Lake and West Liberty.