November is always a busy month for Minnesota’s turkey farmers, which are ranked #1 for turkey production in the U.S. This year, however, will place an even bigger spotlight on Minnesota as the National Turkey Federation Chairman Carl Wittenburg and his wife, Sharlene, from Alexandria, Minn., have been officially invited to bring two turkeys to Washington DC for the annual National Thanksgiving Turkey event at the White House. Their special flock hatched in late June and now the Wittenburgs have about 20 turkeys vying for the privilege of traveling to Washington DC.

A video introducing the Wittenburgs and their family history in the turkey industry – both Carl and Sharlene grew up on turkey farms in Minnesota and North Dakota – can be viewed on YouTube:

Today, the couple raises about 100,000 turkeys on their family farm in Wyndmere, North Dakota, while also running a business – Protein Alliance –  for brokering a variety of proteins (including turkey), living in Alexandria, and raising their three sons.

Partnering with Minnesota 4-H

An exciting component of this project is the fact that the Wittenburgs are working with five 4-H members from Douglas County. The high school students are visiting the flock regularly to help the birds get used to people coming and going, noises, music, and so forth. None of the 4-H members had experience working with turkeys before they met the Wittenburgs and participated in a special project for the Science of Agriculture program via Minnesota 4-H last spring. That project placed 2nd in state and now the 4-H members are utilizing their knowledge of turkeys to help get the birds ready for Washington DC.


“We’re so excited to provide such an amazing national platform to showcase Minnesota’s 4-H program, which is an excellent leadership program for kids of all ages” said Carl Wittenburg. “Douglas County is the birthplace of Minnesota 4-H so this was a natural fit for us.”

You can follow along with all the fun on’s website, which has a special National Thanksgiving Turkey section that includes photos, videos, activities for kids, and resources for parents/teachers. The following social media platforms will also be a great place to catch the latest photos and fun events: