May is National Egg Month and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) wants to recognize Virginia’s farmers who produce 696 million eggs (58 million dozen) each year. That’s a lot of eggs: 1 billion 392 million deviled eggs, 232 million three-egg omelets or 87 million pound cakes, assuming eight large eggs per pound.
Eggs are Virginia’s 10th highest ranking agricultural commodity with cash receipts of $89 million last year. Each laying bird produces between 280 to 320 eggs a year, and the United States produces about 75 billion eggs a year, about 10 percent of the world supply.
Large scale operations in Virginia are located in Amelia County, Abingdon and Rockingham County, with many smaller farms located throughout the state. “Eggs are something that can work for both large and small scale farmers,” said Matthew J. Lohr, VDACS Commissioner. “Flocks may range in size from under 500 hens each to flocks comprised of several thousand birds. That’s the beauty of eggs; small farmers can raise them profitably as well as large. We’re very proud of our farmers, large and small, who produce nutritious eggs to help meet the demand in our state.”
New USDA research shows that eggs have 14 percent less cholesterol and significantly more Vitamin D than previously thought. Today’s eggs contain 41 IU of vitamin D, an increase of 64 percent from 2002. One egg provides at least 10 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). Vitamin D plays an important role in calcium absorption, helping to form and maintain strong bones. One large egg contains 6 grams of protein or 12 percent of the RDA. Eggs also contain Leutein, proven to be important for eye health, and Choline, important for memory development. The protein in an egg is nearly perfect as it contains all essential and non-essential amino acids in the correct balance for the human body.
“One egg has lots of vitamins and minerals for just 70 calories,” said Lohr. “Nutrients in eggs can play a role in weight management, muscle strength, healthy pregnancy, brain function, eye health and more, and they are a great way to buy local products. Consumers who search VirginiaGrown.com for eggs will find 22 pages of listings where they can purchase local eggs. These include Farmers’ Markets, CSA subscriptions, farms, grocery stores and specialty shops. Under ‘more information,’ each listing also has contact information and directions as well as a full product list.”