May 19, 2010

Nebraska’s egg industry adds value to corn, aid overseas

Just as Nebraska farmers are producing more corn with fewer inputs on fewer acres, the Nebraska egg industry is producing more eggs per hen every year, the Nebraska Corn Board said in this news release.

Nebraska’s commercial laying hen population in 2008 was at 10 million birds producing more than 2.5 billion eggs annually. The number of layers as of April 2010 is fell to 9.4 million – but those hens were producing approximately the same number of eggs, which shows great production efficiency among Nebraska egg producers.

Nebraska currently ranks ninth nationally in total egg production, and is also a national leader in the production of further processed egg products.

“The egg industry is another great way of adding value to corn and distillers grains which provides an economic boost to a lot of other businesses,” said Kelsey Pope, ag promotion coordinator for the Nebraska Corn Board. “With May being Egg Month, consumers in Nebraska should realize just how incredible the state’s egg industry really is.”

The interesting thing about Nebraska’s egg industry is that none of the eggs are sold “in the shell” like what you find in cartons at the grocery store.

Instead, they are processed by companies known as “egg breakers” and turned into high-value pasteurized refrigerated liquid eggs, which are then sold as a liquid, frozen, dried or as specialty products. These high-value products are used domestically in the foodservice sector but are also shipped all over the world, including for aid projects like “Eggs for Haiti,” an effort of the national Good Egg Project, which donated more than 3 million eggs to Haitian relief efforts this past year.

The egg industry contributes about $95 million to the Nebraska economy each year. Part of that contribution is the consumption of more than 8 million bushels of corn and the growing usage of distillers grains.

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