The Egg Industry Center’s Recent Study Finds Decreased Environmental Impact with Increased Egg Production Over the Past 50 Years
The Colorado Egg Producers (CEP) Association is proud to share the results of a study recently released by the Egg Industry Center (EIC) on the environmental impact of egg production across the country over the past 50 years. As the demand for and supply of the “incredible edible egg” has grown, the environmental impact of egg production has significantly dropped. This is also true here in Colorado, as local egg farmers have continued to focus on and implement environmental best practices.
“We are proud to be a part of an industry that is dedicated to significantly decreasing its environmental footprint. As Colorado egg farmers we are doing our part and are committed to utilizing environmental best practices,” said Jerry Wilkins, president of CEP. “The opportunities to reduce our environmental impact and still produce an affordable and nutritious source of protein are endless. Here in Colorado we have actively developed environmental stewardship practices, increased feed efficiency, used manure for fertilization and more. We always look for opportunities to improve the world in which we and our hens live and work.”
EIC researchers analyzed U.S. egg production from 1960 to 2010 to evaluate egg production’s impact on the environment. Study findings showed that egg production has greatly reduced its environmental footprint nationwide. This has been accomplished through improving hen feed, better disease control and advances in hen housing systems.
Key results of EIC’s study that compared to 1960:
• The egg production process releases significantly less polluting emissions including 71 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions.
• Hens now use 32 percent less water per dozen eggs produced.
• Today’s hens use a little over half the amount of feed to produce a dozen eggs.
• At the same time, today’s hens produce 27 percent more eggs per day and are living longer.
“The U.S. egg industry has evolved remarkably over the past five decades by incorporating new technologies to protect natural resources,” said Hongwei Xin, agricultural and biosystems engineering and animal science professor at Iowa State University, director of the Egg Industry Center and the study’s lead researcher. “Egg farmers have improved their production practices, allowing them to provide an affordable source of high-quality protein while using fewer resources and producing less waste.”
Many Colorado farms have environmental practices in place that likely contributed to the study results. For example, in Colorado, Sparboe Farm’s egg layer operations carbon footprint is the lowest among all other animal production operations because of improved feed efficiency. The farm’s recycling program has been in place for many years. All paper products (filler flats made from recycled paper), plastics, cans, cardboard, twines and trash is all separated in its own containers, picked up on a weekly basis by various recycling companies and is recycled for future use. The farm also capitalizes on carbon dioxide mitigation strategies including forestation on the property.
Sparboe Farms also developed its own specific environmental stewardship programs and implements them in each and every one of its farm properties. The programs are designed to address direct and specific needs at each location. Every aspect of Sparboe Farms egg farms – from the pullet barns, layer barns and processing buildings to the feed systems, heat and lighting – is designed to be “green” and environmentally conscious.
Morning Fresh Farms also improves the environment by using the farm’s poultry manure for future lawn fertilization. All of the manure is removed twice a week from the barns and is immediately dehydrated or composted. A subsidiary, Organix Supply Company, uses the dried poultry manure as the primary ingredient in its extensive line of lawn and garden fertilizers and combines composted manure with wood shavings from Morning Fresh Farms’ pallet reclamation center to make soil amendments.
The EIC study was funded by the American Egg Board, the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, the United Egg Association – Allied and the Egg Industry Center. To obtain data for 2010, researchers conducted anonymous surveys with egg farmers and collected data on 57.1 million young hens and 92.5 million laying hens. For more information, visit www.incredibleegg.org or www.eggindustrycenter.org.
To learn more about the CEP and its efforts to improve the environment, please visit www.coloradoeggproducers.com.
About Colorado Egg Producers Association
The Colorado Egg Producers (CEP) Association is a membership organization representing seven farms throughout Colorado. CEP is committed to doing what’s right for its community, as illustrated by their regular donation of thousands of eggs to food banks throughout the state. Egg Farmers throughout Colorado pride themselves on providing a high quality, protein-dense food like eggs to citizens in this great state. We are also proud to offer consumers the choice between cage, cage-free eggs, organic, nutrient enhanced, brown and white eggs. You can find locally produced, fresh, wholesome and safe eggs in the dairy case of your favorite Colorado supermarkets. The seven CEP farms are Colorado Egg, LLC; Country Side Eggs; NestFresh; Boulder Valley Poultry; Hillside Egg Farm; Morning Fresh Farms and Sparboe Farms. For more facts and information about eggs and CEP, including a list of where to buy Colorado eggs, please visit www.coloradoeggproducers.com.
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