Xin demonstrates egg industry’s improved efficiency, environmental impact

The U.S. egg industry is operating at much greater efficiency while leaving a smaller environmental footprint than it did 50 years ago, according to a first-of-its-kind study conducted by researchers at Iowa State University.

Improved genetics, disease prevention, nutrition and production methods allow the egg industry to feed more people while producing less waste and requiring fewer resources, said Hongwei Xin, an ISU professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering and director of the ISU-based Egg Industry Center.

Xin and colleagues Maro Ibarburu-Blanc, an associate scientist with the Egg Industry Center, and Nathan Pelletier, a principal of Global Ecologic Environmental Consulting and Management Services in Nova Scotia, Canada, are putting together a study comparing modern egg production with how the industry operated 50 years ago. To do so, his team collected blind survey data from throughout the egg industry alongside historical sources and first-hand accounts from professionals who worked in egg production in the 1960s.

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