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Congressman Collin Peterson Visits Sparboe’s Egg Farm in Litchfield

photo 1Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson, ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, visited Sparboe Farms’ recently renovated “Prairie” farm in Litchfield, Minn. to tour one of the company’s new “enrichable” barns and state-of-the art processing facility.

The tour, hosted by Sparboe Farms’ President Beth Sparboe Schnell and Director of Production Operations Mark Kellen, gave Congressman Peterson an inside look into the kind of facility that will take safe, efficient egg production and quality hen care into the future.

Sparboe Farms’ Prairie complex was not only the company’s first farm built, but also Minnesota’s first and largest in-line egg production facility, originally constructed in 1974. This recent multi-faceted renovation project involved the construction of three new “enrichable” barns that combine industry best practices in ventilation, lighting, automation and animal care; a water treatment facility that recycles water used to wash eggs for crop irrigation; and a new processing plant that stands to be one of the top 10 most automated in the country; among other facility additions. The result is a modern egg farm with an optimal laying environment for hens; a cleaner, safer work facility for employees; and the opportunity for improved efficiency.

Congressman Peterson’s tour was followed by an interactive discussion with Sparboe executives and managers, and representatives from other local businesses, many of whom reside in the Litchfield area. photo 4He gave an overview on the latest farm bill, and also fielded questions on the impact of Minnesota’s new minimum wage requirements and healthcare costs, California’s egg law, and the EPA’s proposed rules for waters of the United States. As a longtime advocate of rural America, he also confirmed his commitment to helping ensure the voices of rural communities—and the importance of farming—are not lost as more people move into the city.

Playing it safe with eggs

FDA Egg Safety

What You Need to Know

Fresh eggs must be handled carefully to avoid the possibility of foodborne illness, often called “food poisoning.” Even eggs with clean, uncracked shells may occasionally contain bacteria called Salmonella that can cause an intestinal infection.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates that 142,000 illnesses each year are caused by consuming eggs contaminated with Salmonella. FDA has put regulations in place to help prevent contamination of eggs on the farm and during shipping and storage. But consumers play a key role in preventing illness associated with eggs. In fact, the most effective way to prevent egg-related illness is by knowing how to buy, store, handle and cook eggs — or foods that contain them — safely. Click on the following link to learn some safe handling tips that will help protect yourself and your family.



Celebrating at the Litchfield Watercade Parade

We kicked off our 60th anniversary celebration at the Litchfield Watercade kiddie parade this morning. Henrietta hen and some egg friends were there!

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What an absolute blast at the Watercade parade tonight! 100 walkers having great fun in the sun!




Well the wind got the best of us and the Watercade little crow ski show was postponed but not before we handed out hundreds of free ‘eggs on a stick’ (hard boiled egg on a pretzel) and had people try their hand at a few fun games. What a great way to wrap up a terrific weekend!!!



Litchfield Independent Review Celebrates Sparboe Farms’ 60th Anniversary

Honored as grand marshal of the 2014 Litchfield Watercade parade, an annual community event in the company’s “hometown” of Litchfield, Minn., Sparboe Farms was recently highlighted by the local newspaper Litchfield Independent Review in “60 Years Strong as Member of Community.” President Beth Schnell talks candidly about receiving this recognition. Read the full story.

Sparboe Foods at New Hampton Heartland Days


In conjunction with Sparboe Farms’ 60th anniversary, employees of the company’s egg further processing division, Sparboe Foods, participated in New Hampton’s annual Heartland Days  weekend of events. A proud group of Sparboe employees, including one donning a chicken costume, walked in the Friday evening parade. Sparboe Foods also staffed a booth to hand out “eggs on a stick,” which are hard-boiled eggs on a pretzel.

Sparboe Foods is a leading egg breaking and further processing company located in New Hampton, Iowa. Founded in 1996, Sparboe Foods serves industrial and foodservice customers throughout central and western United States. The company is part of a portfolio of companies owned by Minnesota-based Sparboe Companies, which also owns leading U.S. egg producer and marketer Sparboe Farms, Inc.

U.S. Egg Company Sparboe Farms Celebrates 60th Anniversary


U.S. Egg Company Sparboe Farms Celebrates 60th Anniversary

Litchfield, Minn.—Sparboe Farms, a longstanding family owned U.S. egg producer and marketer, celebrates 60 years in business in August 2014. Started as a day-old chick distributor in 1954, the company today is one of the nation’s leading shell egg producers with six chicken farms, five processing plants and an egg further processing plant operated by Sparboe Foods.

In honor of Sparboe Farms’ 60th anniversary and as a testament to the company’s strong commitment to supporting its farm communities, the company and its employees are participating in dozens of community events throughout the summer months, including town parades, fairs and a farmers’ market. The company will also host employee appreciation events to celebrate its employees at all locations in July and August.

Sparboe Farms, Inc. is a third generation, family owned business headquartered in Litchfield, Minn. Founded in 1954 by Robert “Bob” Sparboe, the company started as a local baby chick distributor and has evolved into a leading shell egg producer with chicken farms and processing plants in Minnesota, Iowa and Colorado. Sparboe Farms provides fresh shell eggs and egg products to grocery, foodservice and industrial customers in the United States and around the world, and is part of a portfolio of companies owned by Minnesota-based Sparboe Companies. For more information, visit or follow Sparboe Farms at

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Egg Production Study Reveals Vast Reduction in Environmental Impact Over the Past 50 Years

Today’s egg production is more efficient than previous decades and leaves a smaller environmental footprint

Source: American Egg Board

October 31, 2013

On Wednesday, the Egg Industry Center released a landmark study that shows that while the U.S. egg production has increased over the past 50 years, the industry has also been able to significantly decrease its environmental footprint. Researchers conducted a lifecycle analysis of U.S. egg production from 1960 to 2010 to evaluate environmental performance measures for the complete lifecycle from crops to hens to the farm gate. Study findings indicate that the environmental efficiencies are the result of a wide range of factors, including the reduction of natural resource use, improved hen feed, better disease control, and advancements in hen housing systems.

“The U.S. egg industry has evolved remarkably over the past five decades by incorporating new technologies to protect natural resources,” said Hongwei Xin, agricultural and biosystems engineering and animal science professor at Iowa State University, director of the Egg Industry Center and the study’s lead researcher. “Egg farmers have improved their production practices, allowing them to provide an affordable source of high-quality protein while using fewer resources and producing less waste.”

Key results of the study found that compared to 1960:

  • The egg production process releases significantly less polluting emissions, including 71 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Hens now use 32 percent less water per dozen eggs produced.
  • Today’s hens use a little over half the amount of feed to produce a dozen eggs.
  • At the same time, today’s hens produce 27 percent more eggs per day and are living longer.

A Closer Look at the Findings

Due to increased feed efficiency, advancements in hen housing and manure management, egg farms now use less water and energy on a daily basis and release less polluting emissions. Every aspect of the egg production process, from cultivating feed to raising the laying hens, has led to a reduced environmental footprint.

  • Feed efficiency plays a key role in reducing environmental impacts. Due to advancements in nutrition and bird breeding, young hens now require 48 percent less food during the rearing period than they did in 1960 and the laying hens have 42 percent better feed conversion. Using 1960 technology to produce the 2010 egg supply would have required 78 million more hens, 1.3 million more acres of corn and 1.8 million more acres of soybeans.
  • Advancements in hen housing such as improved building ventilation, temperature control, better lighting, and a more secure housing environment, help to ensure that hens are protected from disease-carrying wildlife. These techniques have been widely adopted by egg farmers across the country, leading to healthier hens with a lower mortality and higher rate of egg production. In addition, advancements in the development of preventative medicine to eliminate avian diseases have greatly improved hen health.
  • Manure management has played a role in minimizing the egg industry’s environmental footprint. The vast majority of manure from laying hens is recycled into crop production, providing nutrients for plants, contributing to healthy soils, saving energy and reducing commercial fertilizer use.

Looking Ahead

With the growing U.S. population and egg demand on the rise, egg farmers play an important role in providing an abundant and affordable source of high-quality protein.

“The U.S. population has increased by 72 percent over the past 50 years, but efficiencies in egg production have enabled us to meet the demands of the growing population with just 18 percent more hens, while also leaving a smaller environmental footprint,” said Bob Krouse, an egg farmer for Midwest Poultry Services in Indiana. “Egg farmers are now in a position to help fulfill the growing need for an affordable and nutritious source of protein in an environmentally responsible manner.”

Egg farmers are dedicated to providing safe, nutritious food while maintaining the highest quality care for their hens. At the same time, farmers understand the importance of protecting the land, water and air for their communities and future generations, and they are always looking to identify ways for continued improvement. Efforts to further improve feed efficiency, hen housing facilities and manure management will facilitate even greater environmental footprint reductions in the future.

The study was funded by the American Egg Board, the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, the United Egg Association — Allied and the Egg Industry Center. To obtain data for 2010, researchers conducted anonymous surveys with egg farmers and collected data on 57.1 million young hens and 92.5 million laying hens. For more information, visit or

By |October 31st, 2013|Sparboe News|0 Comments

Eggs around the world cooking contest at the Iowa State Fair

Sparboe Farms sponsored the first ever “Eggs around the world” cooking contest at the Iowa State Fair.

Entrants had to make an internationally-inspired dish that used at least 3 eggs.
Judging was on Thursday 8/15 at 10 am and Sparboe Farms’ own Nate Nickolisen and Sheila Baker put their taste buds to work picking the winners.We had 7 dishes entered (which is great for a new contest!) and each judge had to try all 7 and rate them based on presentation, taste and creativity/international inspiration.

The winners took home Visa gift cards and a free coupon for eggs from Dahl’s. Thanks Nate and Sheila for judging!



Giving back – donating eggs

One of Sparboe Farm’s core values is supporting our communities. We do this in many ways, including financial support through our community relations department, employee involvement in community activities and initiatives and by donating eggs to non-profit organizations.
In the month of July, Sparboe Farms donated 23,955 dozen eggs.

19,800 dozen were donated for the Fill the Truck campaign with our customer Fareway. The eggs were distributed to 8 food banks throughout Iowa and then went to local food pantries nearby Fareway’s stores.

2700 dozen were donated as part of our monthly pallet donation to food banks in Minnesota, Iowa and Colorado. This program has been in place since 2006 and to date we have donated 2.2 million dozen eggs.

The rest were donated to organizations near all of our facilities. Some of the organizations include:

  • Fire/police departments
  • Lake betterment groups
  • Lions Club, American Legion, VFW and Knights of Columbus groups
  • Churches
  • 4-H groups
  • Iowa Grocers Industry Association

Our donations enable these groups to raise money for their important causes, including supporting a school in Haiti, donating money to needy families in the local community, fighting disease and preserving lakes.

We are proud to be able to share our wholesome high-protein eggs with families in need.

Block and Bridle Club visits Sparboe Farm



On Friday, April 5th, 94 members from the National Block and Bridle Club visited our farm in Iowa. The visitors were college students from all over the country. Learn more about Block and Bridle here. Our team of hosts from Sparboe Farms made sure the event was a success!

Our Processing Manager showed the students around the processing floor, explaining to them the process of how the eggs come in from the barn all the way to when they are packed into boxes for our customers. Then the students visited our Quality Assurance Manager at the candling booth to learn about egg quality and quality control, yolk color and how feed impacts the eggs.

Next was our live production station where we covered some information about Sparboe Farms, the farm, and animal welfare. Finally, our Production Manager met the students outside and walked with them around the farm. He talked to them about our farm land, manure and water management, feed bins and ventilation.

A big thank you to the entire team at the farm for hosting such a large group and for making sure the farm looked its best!

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