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A Month To Celebrate

May 22, 2018
Emmetsburg News

May is a month to celebrate for Iowa Agriculture.

Gov. Kim Reynolds has officially proclaimed May as Beef Month in Iowa.

For many of us, every month is a time to partake of a food that ranks high on the list of culinary favorites.

It's no secret that Americans have a love affair with beef. That's been true for generations and the demand for this tasty and healthy product is on the rise - up about 15 percent in the last decade.

The passion for beef is widely shared in the Hawkeye State. It is the beef industry's vital role in the state's economy, however, that warrants special recognition.

The governor took note in her proclamation of some impressive facts about this important part of Iowa agriculture:

Iowa had 4 million head of cattle as of Jan. 1, making it a major beef producing state.

The beef industry adds $6.3 billion to the Iowa economy each year and provides jobs to more than 32,000 Iowans.

Beef is a nutrient-rich food. It provides protein, zinc and B-vitamins.

Beef producers have an environmental commitment that makes them excellent caretakers of the state's land.

Iowa is a leader in the worldwide export of high-quality beef.

Iowans have celebrated Beef Month for more than four decades and with good reason. There can be little doubt that Iowa helps set the standard nationally for production of top-quality beef.

Iowa's beef producers take pride in their role in helping feed not only our nation but also the world beyond. Beef Month is a good time for us all to reflect on this industry's importance to Iowa.

But let's not stop there.

Egg production is big business in Iowa.

The Hawkeye State's 54 million layering hens generate a remarkable 16 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.

The Iowa egg industry is responsible for about $2.4 billion in sales annually. This industry also contributes mightily to a positive employment picture in Iowa. According to the Iowa Egg Council, egg producers are responsible for about 9,000 jobs that generate $502 million each year in income for employees and $22.8 million annually in general tax revenues for the state.

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 300 million egg-laying hens generate well over 200 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 250 eggs per person each year and has been holding fairly constant in recent years.

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.



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