Most folks know Iowa is tops in the country in hogs, corn and soybeans, but the Hawkeye State is also the nation’s leader in eggs. Lois White, spokeswoman for the Iowa Egg Council, says the state has about 60-million laying hens.

“We are number-one in the nation,” White says. “We lead the nation in egg production, producing close to 15-billion eggs a year. That’s almost one out of every five eggs produced in the United States.” The egg industry generates nearly 20-million dollars a year in state tax revenue, White says, a figure that’s been rising the past several years as the industry grows.

“Part of the reason our production has increased is we have a competitive advantage here, being in Iowa, due to low feed costs,” White says. “The feed costs represent about 67% of the cost to produce a dozen eggs.” She says a big part of the reason feed costs are so much lower here is that transportation costs are cheaper.

May is National Egg Month, which White says is a time to pay tribute to the industry’s dedicated farmers. “The egg industry generates about 8,000 jobs statewide,” White says. “That includes people indirectly that help our industry like the suppliers of feed grains, feed supplements, the veterinarians and utility services.”

She says that figure has risen by some 360 jobs in the past five years, thanks to continued growth. The Iowa Egg Council plans to give away 100,000 hard boiled eggs — on sticks — at this summer’s Iowa State Fair.

By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City