By Brent Nelson
4th Generation Egg Farmer
Nelson Poultry Farms, Manhattan, KS
What do Kansas, the White House and Easter have in common? You may be surprised to learn that egg farmers from across the country, including from the great state of Kansas, are proudly donating 30,000 farm-fresh eggs to the 2018 White House Easter Egg Roll held on Monday, April 2.
I am Brent Nelson of Nelson Poultry Farms, and for almost 100 years, my family has been in the egg farming business with the goal of helping families put nutritious food on their tables. I am honored to represent Kansas at this annual beloved Easter celebration that continues to delight thousands of children and families, creating lifelong memories on the White House South Lawn.
This iconic tradition dates back to 1878, and today it is one of the largest annual gatherings hosted by the White House. Following the creation of the American Egg Board in 1977, REAL eggs returned to the White House for egg rolling and activities. That same year, America’s egg farmers also presented the first daughter with the first-ever Commemorative Egg. This tradition continues today with an annual presentation to the First Lady of the United States.
Thanks to the American Egg Board, which has donated thousands of real eggs to the White House Easter Egg Roll for decades, families can decorate eggs, sample recipes (like the popular EggPop) and continue the tradition of rolling eggs with wooden spoons across the South Lawn. For us in modern agriculture, it’s an opportunity to educate the next generation on the value of eggs to American society and the journey from hen to home.
The White House Easter Egg Roll has served as a chance for my father Greg Nelson and I to reflect on our long heritage in egg farming. In the late 1920s, my great grandmother, Leda Nelson, acquired incubators to hatch baby chicks in the garage behind the family’s home that were sold locally. Keeping it in the family, Leda passed the family business down to her son and my grandfather, Wilburn Nelson, who took Nelson Poultry Farms to the next level — contracting eggs to the United States Army installation at Fort Riley, Kansas.
The love of farming must run deep in our veins because my father, Greg, joined his father in running an operation in my hometown of Manhattan. Through hard work, dedication and modern technology, we’ve been able to grow Nelson Poultry Farms into the innovative hen and hatching business that it is today.
My family and I love what we do, and it’s why we can’t wait to share our passion with families from across the country at this year’s White House Easter Egg Roll. So, as the event draws near, we’ll be sure to bring the best of Kansas to Washington, DC. And in turn, we hope as you plan for Easter Sunday’s family gatherings, while your children hunt for colorful eggs in the backyard, know that America’s egg farmers care for their hens, their communities and their land every day. Wishing you an incredible Easter and spring from our family to yours.