Sustainability. The environment. Producing more with less.
These are all buzzwords in agriculture that are important not only to the consumers demanding sustainable, environmentally friendly food and co-products, but to the farmers and ranchers producing their food and co-products.
Farmers and ranchers care so much about this, that they invest dollars into research and education, through their checkoffs, to help further meet the demands of our consumers. One such study that I’m egg-cited to share about is a new 50-year environmental footprint study from the American Egg Board (AEB). I will be partnering with the Good Egg Project and AEB to present additional information about the Good Egg Project, which was established in 2009 by AEB to fight childhood hunger alongside America’s egg farmers. Additionally, it is important to me to learn more about the different industries within agriculture and allow this blog to share on several traditions of food production. I’m excited to learn more as well as divulge on this journey!
Back to this new study, it found that the U.S. egg industry is leaving a smaller environmental footprint today than it did in 1960 even though the egg supply has increased. Researchers at the Egg Industry Center conducted a first-of-its-kind lifecycle analysis of U.S. egg production from 1960 to 2010 and found that today’s hens are producing more eggs and living longer due to better health, nutrition, and their living environment. Yet at the same time, egg farms are using fewer resources and producing less waste.
How are they really “growing more with less”? Here are a few of the highlights:
- Today’s hens use a little over half the amount of feed to produce a dozen eggs
- The egg production process releases significantly less polluting emissions, including 71% lower greenhouse gas emissions
- Hens now use 32% less water to produce a dozen eggs
- Hens today produce 27% more eggs per day and are living longer
Absolutely every aspect of the egg production process, from cultivating feed to raising the laying hens, has led to a reduced environmental footprint. This includes increased feed efficiency, advancements in hen housing and manure management, as well as egg farms now using less water and energy on a daily basis and releasing less polluting emissions. Every step of the way, egg producers are making changes to be sure that they are producing the most nutritious and environmentally-friendly egg products for the consumer.
And when it comes to the nutrition, you can find it in an egg. One egg has several vitamins and minerals, high-quality protein and antioxidants, all for 70 calories. The protein in eggs is the highest-quality protein found in any food.
Why do we need to be concerned with “growing more with less”? With the growing U.S. population and egg demand on the rise, egg farmers play an important role in providing an abundant and affordable source of high-quality protein.
Egg farmers are dedicated to providing safe, nutritious food while maintaining the highest quality care for their hens. At the same time, farmers understand the importance of protecting the land, water and air for their communities and future generations, and they are always looking to identify ways for continued improvement. Efforts to further improve feed efficiency, hen housing facilities and manure management will facilitate even greater environmental footprint reductions in the future.
Another project that American egg farmers are funding through their checkoff is the Good Egg Project. This effort by America’s egg farmers, is donating approximately 12 million eggs per year to local food banks and charities. These local food banks and charities continue to need more food, especially high-quality protein foods like eggs, which help build muscle and allow people to feel fuller longer and stay energized. They are especially concerned with childhood hunger and the AEB invites consumers to join them in the fight. You can help with this effort by taking a pledge to help stop childhood hunger. Click here and go to NoKidHungry.org to learn about more ways you can help.