We Are Prairie Proud Farmers

By Jason and Tracy Ramsdell
2nd Generation Egg Farmer
Dakota Layers Family Farm, Flandreau, SD

We are a pretty tough breed here in eastern South Dakota. With record heat in the summer and blizzards in the winter, we have to be. Life doesn’t stop during harsh weather. Particularly when you are part of the agriculture community like we are.

But, as general manager of Dakota Layers, a family-owned egg farm in Flandreau, I couldn’t be more “prairie proud” to be a member of this community! Even during our frigid winters and blistering-hot summers, we check each of the hens in our care daily, making sure the water lines are delivering the right amount of water and the feed troughs are filled. I love this work and I can’t imagine doing anything else.

I’m a second-generation egg farmer, and sixth-generation farmer. But this way of life was new to my wife Tracy when I joined Dakota Layers full-time in 2012. Tracy, a journalist by training (and a foodie by birth), is our marketing director and learned this business from the ground up. To say she’s passionate about this work would be putting it lightly. I’m also starting to see the agriculture spark in the eyes of my children, too. Jett and Nora love being around the birds. The fact that Tracy and I can involve our children in our work makes us feel blessed beyond belief.

As egg farmers, Easter means a lot to us. It’s not only because, for so many families, Easter equals eggs, but it’s also due to the sense of community during the Easter season. We love the idea of Americans coming together to celebrate family, a new season, and the new life that comes with spring.

Knowing families are enjoying our eggs means so much to us. It makes us “prairie proud” not only at Easter but every day to be South Dakotans, members of the agriculture community, and Americans.


Life in the “Egg Basket of the Midwest”

By Mindy Truex
3rd Generation Egg Farmer
Creighton Brothers Family Farm, Warsaw, IN

Four feet, 10 inches. I remember when I couldn’t wait to be four feet, 10 inches.

That’s how tall you needed to be to stand over a table in order to count chicks in our hatchery. Or at least that’s what my dad told me. It’s one of my earliest memories, as I imagine I was too young to help around our farm.

My name is Mindy Creighton Truex and I’m a third-generation egg farmer in Warsaw, Indiana. I’m a little older (and a little taller) now. My grandfather, Hobart, and his brother, Russell, transformed 38 acres on the old Creighton homestead into what is now our family farm, Creighton Brothers, LLC. Staking their future on 1,200 young hens, they established themselves as a major part of the “Egg Basket of the Midwest.”

Growing up, I always knew that this farm would be my life. My dad believed strongly in education — both hands-on experience and the academic variety — so I went to Purdue to study agribusiness management and I’ve also done just about every job around the farm. A lot of what I do here now is in the office, but being out in the fields or in the henhouse are still my favorite things. I love being out there getting my hands dirty when I can, and I love this way of life.

It is so rewarding to share our farm’s eggs with families who will enjoy them. That’s one of the reasons I love Easter. I think of Easter and I think of community and of sharing what you have with others. In a way, it is Easter every day at Creighton Brothers. Years ago, we began organizing farm tours for local schools and community organizations. We had so many great conversations during these tours, often talking for hours, that I realized we needed to add a lunch to the tour agenda. That omelet lunch evolved into the idea for a café. Today, we still love to engage in tableside talks with guests to educate people about our farm and also provide a farm-to-table experience — at our Crazy Egg Café.

At the Crazy Egg Café, visitors enjoy the freshest eggs (because they’ve never left our farm) and other ingredients from local farms across the Midwest. And, we have fun with our menu! For example, our Crazy Egg Waffich features our farm fresh eggs sandwiched between delicious Belgian waffles.

Whether farmers are talking to people over a Waffich at the Crazy Egg Café or sharing the story of how eggs go from hen to home at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, our goal is the same. We want you to know we work hard to provide the very best eggs every day.


Celebrating Tradition on an Egg Farm

By Jordan Hertzfeld
4th Generation Egg Farmer
Hertzfeld Poultry Farm, Grand Rapids, OH

Like most kids, I loved rides.

Only my favorites weren’t at any of Ohio’s amusement parks or carnivals. I preferred hopping on one of the tractors right here at Hertzfeld Poultry Farm, in my hometown of Grand Rapids.

I still do. Only now, I’m the operations manager for our fourth-generation family farm, which provides high-quality eggs to the Toledo area and surrounding communities, as well as to markets in the eastern United States and Canada.

To be honest, I wasn’t always sure I would join the family business. The farm had been a central part of my life since birth, so when I went off to Bowling Green University I had time to experience life beyond the farm. And I missed it. Farming is hard work, but it’s fun, too. I like being on my feet when I work and experiencing something different every day.

Every day on the farm is special, and I know how fortunate we are to be able to provide nutritious and delicious eggs that feed so many Americans. But Easter is a particularly special time for our family — and most other egg farmers.

A highlight is the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, an American tradition dating back to 1878. Each year, egg farmers across the country donate thousands of eggs for the event. Those eggs – which are rolled, decorated or eaten on the South Lawn of the White House by thousands of children and families — are just a small part of the nearly 3 billion eggs eaten during the Easter season each year!

One of the reasons I’m so fond of the White House Easter Egg Roll is that I’m a traditionalist at heart (that may explain why my favorite way to eat eggs is sunny side up, with toast). Our family — those who work on the farm, and those who don’t — always returns home to celebrate Easter together. And we all run around the lawn searching for colorfully decorated eggs. It doesn’t matter your age.

I feel that sense of family and pride every day on the farm, too. We are fortunate our business has grown over the years. We can keep doing what we love to do, and I treasure every part of the job. Each day is different, but each day I work together with family and friends. Some days we have to overcome challenges, some days are easier than others, but every day we leave proud knowing we’re providing something wholesome that nourishes people.


Our Family’s American Dream

By Ben Thompson
2nd Generation Egg Farmer
Pearl Valley Farms, Pearl City, IL

My name is Ben Thompson and I’m a second-generation farmer at Pearl Valley Farms of Pearl City, Illinois. I live the American Dream every day on our farm; it gives me a strong work ethic and a life purpose. With my parents, my wife, Tammy, and my children at my side, we have built and grown our business by staying true to our roots and maintaining an unwavering commitment to doing what’s right. I’m so excited about what the future holds, but it also makes me pause and appreciate the years of hard work to get to where we are today.

In the 1970s, my father, Dave Thompson was an elementary school teacher who wanted to teach his students about agriculture, particularly hatching chicks first-hand. Year after year, the flock continued to grow, and in 1987, my father began to turn that flock into Pearl Valley Farms. We ensure our hens receive the highest level of care and the most nutritious diet. This diet not only results in delicious and nutritious eggs, but also calcium-rich manure that we compost to create high-quality fertilizers. Our fertilizer has been so popular that we were able to expand and, in 2015, introduced our organic fertilizer line.

Our commitment to doing what is right for families across the country and for the environment helps us build on our American Dream and continue to grow our farm. We are excited to join other egg farmers who are fulfilling their dreams, as we represent Illinois at the next White House Easter Egg Roll. This annual beloved Easter celebration continues to delight thousands of children and families, creating lifelong memories on the White House South Lawn.

My family and I love what we do, and it’s why we can’t wait to share our passion — and our incredible eggs — with families from across the country. And in turn, we hope as you plan to gather around your table and outside for egg hunts that you know America’s egg farmers send you their very best every day.


Proudly Representing Virginia Tradition at the White House

By Lake Wagner
4th Generation Egg Farmer
Dutt & Wagner Family Farm, Abingdon, VA

I am a fourth-generation farmer of Dutt & Wagner. I began working on our family farm at the age of 14, and after gaining a Bachelor’s degree from Virginia Tech and an MBA from the University of Richmond, I returned to Dutt & Wagner in 2015 to carry on our family tradition. Americans love eggs, and we work hard every day to provide the best possible food for people!

Farming was seeded in my blood when my great-grandfather, Frank Wagner, and his brother-in-law, Paul Dutt, started a successful business in the mid-1920s with a $500 loan. Since then, Dutt & Wagner has seen four generations of farmers and continues to grow.

As a child growing up in Virginia, I had the opportunity to participate in the White House Easter Egg Roll and have fond memories of this event, which has become a staple in my life. In my earlier years, the White House Easter Egg Roll was an opportunity to meet Presidents who served as role models and to fulfill dreams of playing on the South Lawn. Today, the White House Easter Egg Roll is an opportunity for our Dutt & Wagner family to reflect on our heritage as egg farmers doing our best to provide for American families.

The White House Easter Egg Roll dates back to 1878. Today it is one of the largest annual gatherings hosted by the White House. Since 1977, America’s egg farmers have provided the eggs used for egg rolling and other traditions on the lawn. That same year, America’s egg farmers also presented the First Lady and First Daughter with the first-ever Commemorative Egg, a tradition that continues today, with a focus on the next generation.

We love what we do. We love the tradition we are continuing each day. And we are proud of our farming heritage and excited about what the future will bring.


Feeding Families and Supporting Farmers for Decades

By Chris Pierce
2nd Generation Egg Farmer
Heritage Poultry Management Services, Annville, PA

I can remember my two kids hunting for colorful Easter eggs, carefully picking them up and putting them into baskets. Being an egg farmer has a lot of perks. I mean, how many other fathers can say they spend each day creating something that kids chase after with such excitement?

I hold Easter memories near and dear to my heart. Even though my kids are now in college, Easter hasn’t stopped being a tradition in my family and in our rural Pennsylvania community. In fact, it’s our busiest time of year. You see, being an egg farmer isn’t a weekday job. It’s not nine-to-five. It’s seven days a week. The concept of “working hours” doesn’t apply. Even days off can be few and far between, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! Feeding people and nourishing families is incredibly gratifying. And that’s exactly why we work so hard.

As the president of Heritage Poultry Management Services in Annville, Pennsylvania, not only do I have hens in my personal care, but I also continue our family business, which my father-in-law started in 1980, into the next generation to provide support to egg farmers across our state. Our goal is to ensure the Pennsylvania egg community continues to provide the highest-quality eggs to Americans. We do that through a daily commitment to animal care, which guides every decision we make. For example, we have a full-time nutritionist on staff to ensure all hens receive the right nutrients in their diet. This is crucial because every flock is different — even the weather can impact their needs. This is one way we deliver the best product possible for people.

We hope that as you enjoy your Easter traditions — from dying eggs, watching children run across backyards hunting for eggs, or coming together over a Sunday brunch — you’ll know that America’s egg farmers work hard to send you their very best every day.


From Our Farm to the White House, Eggs Are on a Roll

By Brent Nelson
4th Generation Egg Farmer
Nelson Poultry Farms, Manhattan, KS

As a parent, an American and a fourth-generation egg farmer, there’s nothing quite like the annual White House Easter Egg Roll. Last April, my wife and I were delighted to take our three children from the Little Apple (Manhattan, Kansas) to the annual event on the South Lawn of the White House. While this marked the first time we were honored to attend this monumental experience, our family ties to the egg industry run deep.

Nearly a century ago, my great grandmother began selling and trading eggs to help put food on the table for her family. It was a humble beginning with chicks hatched in the garage behind the family home in Morganville, Kansas. What started as a personal passion has evolved into both a professional passion as well. Today our family keeps this spirit alive running Nelson Poultry Farms.

It’s a non-stop, challenging and rewarding job. There were times when, like at age 8, helping my dad around the farm, I wasn’t always sure I wanted to be an egg farmer. But coming back to the farm after exploring other unfulfilling industries post-college is a decision I’ve never regretted. And the thought that, one day, my kids could choose to be the fifth generation and continue our family heritage makes me even more excited for the future of agriculture.

We are thrilled to return to the White House Easter Egg Roll, which is a fun, exciting event, especially for my children. But it’s more than that; it’s a celebration of our way of life as egg farmers. And it gives me an immense amount of pride to be included in this beloved annual gathering on the most famous lawn in the country.

We can’t wait to go back, and bring the best of Kansas to Washington, D.C., Just as we do, on Easter and every other day of the year, as dedicated American egg farmers!


The West Coast is the Best Coast…for Farming.

By Anthony Demler
3rd Generation Egg Farmer
Demler Brothers Pine Hill Egg Ranch, Ramona, CA

Right off Highway 78 and close enough to San Diego that we can feel the ocean breeze and salt in the air, sits my family’s farm, Demler Brothers Pine Hill.

As a third-generation farmer, I was raised surrounded by agriculture. It was, and still is, a way of life. My grandfather, Edmund Demler, started our family in the egg business and passed the tradition to my father, Kevin Demler, at our San Diego ranch in 1974. The farm was then passed to my brother and me, extending a history that’s ripe with tradition.

Growing up on a farm instilled many life lessons at a young age. Watching my grandfather and father work hard to provide not only for our family, but also provide affordable and nutritious food for families all over the southern west coast has always made me proud to be a Demler. Working on the family farm “when I grow up” was a childhood dream I am now lucky enough to call my life.

My father encouraged me to step away from the farm for college. It was important to him that I have a wide range of experiences and learn as much as I could from others as well as in class. That mindset, in part, inspired me to join the U.S. Marine Corps. We’re also a family business that builds upon the experiences of previous decades and we make sure we stay on top of the latest technology and innovations in our field. A focus on education is important, above all else. So, I attended Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and completed my degree at Point Loma Nazarene University before returning to the farm.

My brother Alex and I work in tandem to make Demler Brothers the best farm it can possibly be. Living in Ramona, California, has afforded us the opportunity to not only experience a rich farming culture, but also provide the ideal lifestyle for the hens in our care. We also ensure that the farm benefits the Ramona community.

As we approach the Easter season, there is no better time to remember the contributions so many Americans make to this country, celebrated in no small way, at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll. Many of our service members and their families attend. It’s also the perfect moment to recognize and appreciate traditions, while always looking toward the future with excitement and hope. My brother Alex and I keep that top of mind as we work hard every day on our farm.


A Woman-Owned Enterprise in the Land of 10,000 Lakes

By Britta McGuire
3rd Generation Egg Farmer
Sparboe Farms, Litchfield, MN

Work and play. Labor and leisure.

To my grandfather, Bob Sparboe, they were one and the same. He liked to quote a poet, who wrote: “A master in the art of living … always appears to be doing both.”

My mother, sisters and I know exactly what he meant. It can be hard to take a day off. The hens in our care never take a day off from supplying eggs that feed more than 4 million American families. But we wouldn’t have it any other way!

Our Sparboe Farms is a third-generation family-owned business. And now, side by side with my mother and my sisters, I’m proud to be a certified women’s business enterprise reflecting modern agriculture. From our farm, nestled beside one of Minnesota’s famed 10,000 lakes, we oversee, and we also work with other egg farmers in Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota and Colorado.

But we will take a bit of a break during Easter to travel to Washington, D.C., to join other egg farmers at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll celebration. This famous American tradition began in 1878, and today is one of the largest annual gatherings hosted by the White House.

While this annual event is a fulfilling moment for my family and me, our daily work is what makes this career worthwhile. Following my grandfather’s passing in 2005, my mother, sisters and I did not hesitate to keep this tradition alive because it’s not simply a job; it’s our life. We are fully dedicated to what we do: feeding families and enriching lives.

We’ll be sure to bring the best of Minnesota to our nation’s capital. And as you plan for Easter gatherings and hunt for colorful eggs, please know that egg farmers send you their very best every day.

Britta McGuire
Britta McGuire

Dish On Eggs: Holiday Recipes from the State Eggsperts

The nation’s top egg farming states have come together to dish on their favorite holiday recipes representing their home state. Download the cookbook featuring 25 delicious egg recipes, including appetizers, brunch and desserts, that are sure to impress guests at any holiday gathering. Learn how to create tasty twists on regional favorites with these How-To videos available for view or download. Whether baked, deviled, smoked or scrambled – cook your way across America with these favorite hometown recipes.

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