Egg production is big business in Iowa.
The Hawkeye State has more than 80 major egg producers. The state's approximately 57 million layers generate a remarkable 14.25 billion eggs each year, making Iowa the No. 1 egg-producing state in the nation.
The Iowa egg industry is a big purchaser of Iowa's other agricultural products. The state's layers consume 57 million bushels of corn and 28.5 million bushels of soybeans every year.
Iowa, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania and California are the top five egg-producing states in the United States. Together, they account for 50 percent of this country's egg production. In the nation as a whole, some 281 million egg-laying hens generate more than 209 million cases of shell eggs per year.
Americans don't eat as many eggs as they once did. Even so, eggs remain a popular food choice and consumer demand remains high. Per capita egg consumption was 402 eggs per year at its high point in 1945. Today it's in the neighborhood of 248 eggs per person each year.
Most of the nation's egg production goes toward meeting that demand, but egg producers also make a positive contribution to our nation's export economy. U.S. eggs and egg products are sold worldwide.
May is National Egg Month. The next time you consume this tasty product, enjoy the moment but reflect also on the egg industry's importance to Iowa.