Iowa Egg Industry Produces Nearly 14 billion Eggs in 2007

AMES, Iowa — Iowa leads the nation in egg production and processing, accounting for over $1.8 billion in total sales and $475.7 million in annual value-added activity. The nearly 7,600 jobs attributed to the egg production and processing sector generated over $281 million in personal income, according to an Iowa State University report. Additionally, the Iowa egg industry generates $18.3 million of state general tax revenues annually. The "Economic Importance of the Iowa Egg Industry" was produced by the Iowa State economics department in January. Its authors are economists John Lawrence and Dan Otto, and Shane Ellis, an extension program specialist. The report can be downloaded aonline. While per capita egg consumption in the United States has grown at a rate of 1.7 percent a year since 1991, Iowa's production has increased six-fold. Iowa has capitalized on the rapidly growing market for breaker or "processed" eggs, which incur lower transportation costs, the report found. Yet, Iowa producers also can sell into the high-value shell-egg market when economics are favorable. "If demand allows the egg industry to expand profitably, Iowa is in a favorable position to benefit," Lawrence said. "The advantages Iowa producers enjoy over their counterparts in other regions are relatively stable." Iowa's prime advantage is lower feed costs because of plentiful corn supplies. Other egg-producing regions would have to transport corn from the Midwest, adding expenses to high commodity costs. Feed costs represent more than 60 percent of the cost to produce a dozen eggs. The Iowa Egg Council supported the preparation of the report. The council recently made a $2 million gift commitment to establish an egg industry center at Iowa State to develop ideas and technologies to address emerging needs of the egg industry.