Poultry co-op aids US state of Virginia to up egg output

The Central Virginia Poultry Cooperative is increasing egg production in the state with an agreement from Dutch Country Organics.

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A newly formed poultry cooperative is helping the state of Virginia transition from broiler to cage-free egg production.

The Central Virginia Poultry Cooperative plans to produce and sell wholesale cage-free eggs to Dutch Country Organics, LLC. The egg producer recently committed to a multi-year agreement with the cooperative. However, the details of the agreement have not been publicized.

The cooperative is planning to place the first layer hens in its members’ converted broiler houses in April 2024.

Dutch Country Organics is an Indiana-based egg producer that contracts with over 50 local Amish farms to produce cage-free and specialty eggs that are sold to retailers such as Costco, Albertsons, Target, Aldi, Walmart and Kroger.

“We look forward to our new relationship with the Central Virginia Poultry Cooperative and its family farm members. The family farm is our story. It’s what we support. It’s what we encourage. The family farm, where fresh, natural eggs come from fresh, clean environments,” stated Dutch Country Organics CEO Lamar Bontrager. 

The new cooperative was formed by a group of poultry farmers that were affected by the closure of the Tyson Foods Glen Allen broiler facility, as most growers in the area produced for the plant. The group hopes to restore poultry production in Central Virginia and benefit poultry-dependent farms in the region.

State representatives are backing the group

The cooperative has also received support from Virginia state governor Glenn Youngkin and Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matthew Lohr.

Youngkin stated, “When we learned last March that poultry farmers in Central Virginia needed our help, I directed our Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry to bring a team together and find a way forward for the family-owned farms of the region.”

Youngkin added, “I am thrilled to share that less than a year later; the Commonwealth is supporting many of these growers in making a bold step forward to a brighter future in the fast-growing market for cage-free eggs.”

Lohr said, “Virginia poultry farmers produced nearly 62 million eggs in 2022 and I look forward to seeing that number eclipsed in the future, thanks to the family farms in Central Virginia and Dutch Country Organics.”

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