SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Easter Egg hidden for the hunt and the ham on the table for dinner likely came from Iowa.
Iowa produced 12.1 billion eggs in 2022, according to the USDA. That was about 2.7 billion fewer eggs than in 2021.
In general egg production for 2022 will be negatively impacted by avian flu as millions of egg layers died because of the flu.
South Dakota hens produced 592.5 million eggs in 2022. The total was impacted by bird flu. The state produced 699.4 million eggs in 2021.
Nebraska produced 1.9 billion eggs and Minnesota, 2.6 billion in 2022.
Iowa is the top producer of eggs in the nation. In an average year, 16.4 billion eggs are produced, according to the Iowa Area Development Group.
If a family eats a ham at Easter, where could that ham come from?
Iowa is the nation’s top producer of hogs at 23.4 million head as of March 2023, according to the USDA.
Minnesota had 8.9 million while Nebraska had 3.5 million. South Dakota had 2.1 million hogs.
Smithfield Foods has a pork processing plant in Sioux Falls. The USDA said in January of 2022 that pork processing had the highest concentration in the four states of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. More than 40% of hogs are processed within these four states, according to the USDA’s statistics service.
In addition to Sioux Falls, Smithfield has other Midwest plants including in Sioux Center and Denison, Iowa.
Jim Monroe, the vice president in corporate affairs said Smithfield produces 106 million pounds of seasonal ham during the Easter season.
Other plants in the region include Premium Iowa Pork in Hospers, Iowa, and Premium Minnesota Pork in Luverne, Minnesota.
JBS has pork processing plants in Pipestone and Worthington, Minnesota. According to its website, JBS Foods is the second largest pork producer in the world with plants in U.S., Brazil, the United Kingdom and Australia.
There are different brands of ham. For example, Smithfield Foods seasonal ham brands include: Smithfield, Farmland, Cooks, Kretschmar, John Morrell, Farmer John and Carando.
The USDA defines the types. Hams may be fresh, cured, or cured-and-smoked. Ham is the cured leg of pork. Fresh ham is an uncured leg of pork, according to the USDA.
Texas A & M University lists the three processing systems to make a ham are traditional bone-in cured or smoked ham, boneless premium ham and boneless, section or chopped and formed ham. All methods involving cutting while trimming fat or removing the bone depends on the desired outcome.
The USDA Food Safety and Inspection division has a webpage devoted to tips and information about ham.
The USDA also has tips on how to cook that raw egg into a hard boiled egg ready for the Easter egg hunt.
First, put the eggs in an appropriate-sized pan. “Cover the pan and quickly bring the water just to boiling. Turn off the heat and let the eggs stand, covered, 12 minutes for medium-size eggs, 15 minutes for large eggs and 18 minutes for extra-large eggs. Instead of turning the heat off, you can turn the heat very low and barely simmer the eggs for the same length of time,” the USDA website tip page said.
The boiled eggs need to be placed in the coldest part of the refrigerator at at least 40 degrees F when completed. Hard boiled eggs can say in the refrigerator at the proper temperature for seven days, according to the USDA.
Before the ham and eggs make it to a house they must go from farm to processor and then, it’s delivered to a grocery store. Some ham/pork plants will ship to the consumer which is most often done by a niche supplier or organic producer.
Eggs for the farm to the egg processing plant, where government regulations require USDA-graded eggs to be washed and sanitized before being packaged for the store.
A number of programs ensure food safety protocols are in place, both on the farm and at the processing plant, the USDA said.