Where Eggs Come From

America’s egg farmers invite you to learn more about where eggs come from and the efforts they make to take care of our communities, hens and planet.

Meet The Farmers

As America’s egg farmers, we are committed to delivering high-quality eggs and following the highest standards for caring for our animals and the land we farm. See the egg production process first-hand and get to know us better!

Why I Farm

America’s egg farmers are committed to doing what’s right for their hens, the environment and their communities. Hear from America’s egg farmers in this “Why I Farm” series below:

Jacques Klempf, Dixie Egg Co.

Mark Oldenkamp, Valley Fresh Foods

Paul Sauder, Sauder Eggs

Dick Patmos, Sunrise Acres Farm

Bob Krouse, Midwest Poultry

Bruce Dooyema, Center Fresh Farms

Farm To Table

Production Process

Delivering our eggs from the hen house to your grocery store is a very efficient, clean and thorough process. We take great care in providing you with the freshest and most nutritious product.



Hens are fed high-quality, nutritionally balanced feed made up mostly of corn, soybean meal, vitamins and minerals.


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On some farms, eggs are still gathered by hand, but on most of today’s farms, automated gathering belts do the job.


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The egg washing process sanitizes the eggs.


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Egg shells are translucent enough to allow “candling” – holding the egg up to a light source and inspecting the interior for quality without breaking the shell.


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Sorting & Packing

Sorting & Packing

Eggs are sorted, according to size (minimum weight per dozen), and are placed large-end up in cartons.


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Eggs are shipped in refrigerated trucks. Most eggs arrive at your local store within a week after being laid.


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Selling & Storing

Selling & Storing

Eggs must be refrigerated. They will age more in one day at room temperature than in one week in the refrigerator.


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America’s egg farmers produce a high-quality, safe product that provides all-natural, high-quality protein. Eggs are now 14% lower in cholesterol (down from 215 mg to 185 mg), and 64% higher in vitamin D.


Farmers Offer Choice: Egg Types

America’s egg farmers believe in consumer choice and work hard to provide you with the highest-quality variety of eggs, no matter what kind of eggs you choose.

Depending on your preference, you can spend anywhere from about $1.50 per dozen for conventional eggs, to more than $3.00 per dozen for specialty eggs, which typically cost more to produce. Following is more information on some of the most common eggs.

  • Conventional Eggs

    Conventional Eggs

    Eggs laid by hens living in cages with access to feed, water and security. The cages serve as nesting space. In this type of hen house, the birds are more readily protected from the elements, disease and natural and unnatural predators.

  • Free-Range Eggs

    Free-Range Eggs

    Eggs produced by hens that have access to outdoors in accordance with weather, environmental or state laws. In addition to consuming a diet of grains, these hens may forage for wild plants and insects. They are provided floor space, nesting space and perches.

  • Cage-Free Eggs

    Cage-Free Eggs

    Eggs laid by hens at indoor floor operations, sometimes called free-roaming. The hens may roam in a building, room or open area, usually in a barn or poultry house, and have unlimited access to fresh food and water. Some may also forage for food if they are allowed outdoors. Cage-free systems vary and include barn-raised and free-range hens, both of which have shelter that helps protect against predators. Both types are produced under common handling and care practices, which provide floor space, nest space and perches. Depending on the farm, these housing systems may or may not have an automated egg collection system.

  • Organic Eggs

    Organic Eggs

    Eggs produced according to national U.S. Department of Agriculture organic standards related to methods, practices and substances used in producing and handling crops, livestock and processed agricultural products. Organic eggs are produced by hens fed rations with ingredients that were grown without most conventional pesticides, fungicides, herbicides or commercial fertilizers.

  • Enriched Colony

    Enriched Colony

    A production system that contains adequate environmental enrichments to provide perch space, dust bathing or a scratch area(s), and nest space to allow the layers to exhibit inherent behavior. Enriched colony systems are American Humane Certified.

Happy Hens

An egg farmer’s livelihood depends on the production of high-quality eggs. The production of high-quality eggs depends on nurturing healthy hens. Nurturing healthy hens depends on the right diet, housing, lighting, water and overall living conditions. As egg farmers, we want happy hens on our farms and want you to feel good about the eggs you buy!

America’s egg farmers are committed to the health and well-being of their hens and dedicated to providing their customers with fresh, nutritious eggs. Light, housing, diet and health are very important to the production process in order to provide high-quality egg, and therefore, very important to egg farmers.

Raising Healthy Hens

America’s egg farmers feed their hens food that meets the birds’ daily nutrient requirements. The feed is carefully balanced by a poultry nutrition specialist to combine the right amounts of protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.

What's In

  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Corn
  • Soybean Meal

What's Out

  • Growth Hormones

Reducing Our Environmental Footprint

U.S. egg production has significantly decreased its environmental footprint in the past 50 years. Researchers at the Egg Industry Center found that today’s hens are living longer due to better health, better nutrition and better living environments.

These researchers studied U.S. egg production from 1960 to 2010 in a first-of-its-kind lifecycle analysis.

Egg farms are using fewer resources and producing less waste. Compared to 1960, today’s hens:

  • Use a little over half the amount of feed to produce a dozen eggs.
  • Live significantly longer, with a 70% decrease in mortality.
  • Use 32% less water to produce a dozen eggs.
  • Produce 27% more eggs per day and are living longer.

Overall Study Facts

  • Despite producing more eggs in 2010, the total environmental footprint in 2010 was 54% – 63% lower than the environmental footprint in 1960.
  • Using 1960 technology to produce the 2010 egg supply would have required 78 million more hens, 1.3 million more acres of corn and 1.8 million more acres of soybeans.
  • In comparison to 1960 technology, today’s egg farmers are able to feed 72% more people.

Environmental Footprint Highlights


lower greenhouse gas emissions or carbon footprint and eutrophying emissions.


lower acidifying emissions.


lower cumulative energy demand.


less water use per dozen eggs produced.

Farmers Feeding The Hungry

In 2009, America’s egg farmers launched the Good Egg Project (GEP), aimed at:

  • Highlighting egg farmers’ nationwide efforts to feed the hungry;
  • Educating families, communities and classrooms about how eggs are produced;
  • Providing transparent farm-to-table information on how egg farmers provide safe, affordable and nutritious eggs.

Today, American egg farmers continue to balance their operations with firm commitments to the people they feed, the animals they care for and the environment we all share.