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Iowa governor pardons turkeys raised by 15 year old who’s fifth generation in turkey business


November 20th, 2023 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has pardoned two turkeys raised by a teenager from northwest Iowa. Fifteen-year-old Ava Moline, of Manson, has been raising turkeys since she was nine. “None of my turkeys have ever been pardoned, so seeing that two of them will live is pretty exciting,” Moline says.

Moline picked out a tom and a hen that the governor nicknamed Freedom and Flourish. “I picked the hen because she came right up to me when I walked in the barn that day and so, I’m like, ‘You know what, you get to stay,'” Moline says. “And the tom basically did the same thing and he looked the best.” Moline’s profits go into her college fund and she took the rest of the turkeys she’d been raising to market earlier this month. “I got them mid-July and have raised them up ’til now,” Moline says. ” I started my business six years ago with the help of my brothers. I have an older brother and a twin brother and I basically have just taken over since and I started out my first year with around 300 turkeys and this year we had around 2000 turkeys.”

This tom turkey, nicknamed “Freedom” by Governor Reynolds, was pardoned this morning during a ceremony at the governor’s mansion in Des Moines. (RI photo)

Ava’s father is Brad Moline, president of the Iowa Turkey Federation. During today’s (Monday’s) turkey pardoning ceremony on the lawn of the governor’s mansion, Reynolds announced the Moline family has been in the turkey business for 99 years. Reynolds noted turkeys at a previous pardoning ceremony had been a bit more aggressive — and that prompted a reaction. “It’s not over yet. Well, I’ve egged ’em on.”

The Moline family provided the very first turkeys that were pardoned at Terrace Hill by Governor Robert Ray in 1976. Ava Moline, the fifth generation of the family in the turkey business, is raising free-range turkeys, taking them to a small poultry processor near her farm and selling them as fresh, not frozen turkeys to Thanksgiving customers. Her Golden Prairie Turkeys are being sold in grocery stores in Manson, Pocahontas, Greene and Ankeny.