Value-Added Agriculture - Poultry

Iowa’s poultry industry is dominated by egg and turkey production. The industries combined employ approximately 11,800 people with a total personal income of $440 million. Industry overviews are provided below.

Iowa’s Egg IndustrySunrise Farms Iowa

Iowa leads the nation in egg production, producing more than the second and third largest states combined.

  • Iowa’s egg producers have nearly 58 million layers producing around 16.4 billion eggs per year.
  • Iowa’s layers consume around 57.8 million bushels of corn per year and 531,317 tons of soybean meal per year.
  • The Iowa egg industry generated $2.62 billion in total industrial output in the state in 2018, $788 million (30%) of this output represents value-added. 
  • In total, the egg industry supports over 7,000 jobs in Iowa.
  • Wages paid by Iowa's commercial egg industry are over $110 million in direct wages, and a total of $450 million payroll is created by the egg industry when indirect and induced effects are taken into account. 

A number of factors account for the phenomenal growth of the egg industry.

  • Growing population and per capita egg consumption have supported an annual expansion rate in egg production.
  • Iowa has competitive advantages due to lower feed costs than competing states.
  • Iowa has capitalized on the rapidly growing market for breaker or “processed” eggs, which incur lower transportation costs to major population centers on the East and West Coasts.

Access the full Economic Importance of the Iowa Egg Industry Report for complete information on the Iowa Egg Industry.  Iowa's Poultry Industry - Production and Processing (brochure)

Iowa’s Turkey Industry

The Iowa turkey industry is an important agricultural value-added activity providing income and employment opportunities for rural areas in Iowa. The turkey industry:

  • Ranks 7th in US turkey production, with approximately 12 million turkeys raised annually.
  • The turkey industry employs or supports over 38,000 total jobs and is responsible for as much as $10.64 billion in total economic activity throughout the state.
  • The state ranks 6th in US turkey processing with over 15.5 million turkeys processed annually by two main facilities (Tyson Foods in Storm Lake and West Liberty Foods in West Liberty).

Turkey exports made up 9.0 percent of production in 2023 but are projected to increase to 9.5 percent (515 million pounds) in 2024.

A number of factors support the stability of Iowa’s turkey industry.

Iowa’s processing capacity
Lower cost of feed provides a price advantage
The ability to utilize manure nutrients effectively

Read the full report Iowa’s Turkey Industry – An Economic Review, for complete information on the Iowa turkey industry.

Contact IADG Staff for assistance with your next poultry project.