A Crack at the Egg Industry

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — An egg processing plant is open in Springfield, and along with it, at least 60 new jobs.

KOLR10 took a tour of the building to get an idea of what farm-to-table really means. Vital Farms is the name of the company, which gets eggs from one of 100 different farms in the area.

Most people know of Southwest Missouri as the Bible Belt. For those in the egg industry, like Vital Farms’ Vice President of Operations Tricia Clark, it, along with Northwest Arkansas, is better known as the Pasture Belt.
    
“The area of the country that allows our hens to have the greatest opportunity to have year-round outdoor access,” Clark said.

Springfield’s new plant, could be described as the buckle, bringing in pasture-raised eggs from growers around the region. The company cleans them up and quality tests them to make sure they’re presentable.

The founder, Matt O’Hayer, is what attendees Wednesday might call a good egg.

“She and I got 20 chickens, and found out they actually produced eggs, and we thought that was interesting, so we got another thousand,” he said about his wife Catherine.    

Now, he leaves that part to local farmers. According to Clark, those eggs will reach all four corners of the United States.

Once they get there, if there’s a problem with the eggs, a little code on the carton can trace it back to the farm it came from in a matter of minutes.

Some of the eggs stay in the Ozarks, and are transported to local grocers, like Hy-Vee and Ruby’s, or donated to the Ozarks Food Harvest, which has received 8 million eggs from Vital Farms in the last year.

“Protein is probably the hardest item for us to come by, but it’s one of the most requested,” Christine Temple, the communications coordinator for Ozarks Food Harvest, said.

While this is the 10-year-old company’s first and only processing plant, it plans to add more notches in its belt.

Vital Farms says it’s considering expanding from just eggs and butter, to offering other dairy products in the future. That could mean more job opportunities at the Springfield plant, and for local farmers.

Learn more at VitalFarms.com

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