Texas replaced California as the fifth largest egg-producing state last year, USDA show. California output slipped 2%, even though bird numbers remained constant, while Texas production was up 6%, with a 4% increase in layer numbers. California production has been sharply reduced from the 1970s, when production hit 8.5 million eggs from almost 40 million birds.

The decline has been most pronounced within the last five years, and is likely to continue, University of California poultry specialist Don Bell says in the Modesto Bee. “People are less tolerant of animal agriculture,” Bell says. “There’s not a dairy in Los Angeles County or Orange County, and no commercial chickens in either one.” He adds that the industry has shifted to the Midwest. “Iowa has 50 million egg-laying chickens. That’s more than we ever had in California.”

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Iowa egg production and layer numbers were both up 6% last year, down from 2005 growth.