STATEWIDE, ARK. - Gov. Asa Hutchinson has proclaimed May as Arkansas Egg Month, joining nationwide efforts to recognize the hard work of egg producers in meeting rigorous standards of quality and safety, and to remind consumers of the health benefits of eggs.

"Egg production consistently ranks among Arkansas's top 10 agricultural commodities in cash receipts, valued at $484 million annually. Arkansas produces more than 1.2 billion shell eggs annually and ranks 3rd in the nation for egg production," Hutchinson said, highlighting the major role that egg production plays in Arkansas's agricultural industry.

Arkansas has seven egg-processing facilities in central and northwest counties.

Major Arkansas egg processors include Cal-Maine Foods, Caldwell Foods, Mid-State's Specialty Eggs, and Rockhill Foods.

The University of Arkansas Poultry Sciences program also processes eggs for student research, and the Arkansas Department of Correction processes eggs for consumption within the correctional facility system.

"Poultry and egg production is the largest sector of Arkansas agriculture, our state's largest industry. Arkansas is home to excellent companies and partners within this industry, and we are committed to helping them stay competitive in regional, national, and international markets," said Cheri Ellis, Egg Division manager of the Arkansas Agriculture Department's Livestock and Poultry Commission. "More than 12,000 hours are spent annually by our inspectors to ensure that Arkansas eggs meet quality standards. We inspect how eggs are stored, packaged, and labeled for origin, size, and quality at poultry plants, grocery and retail stores, farmers markets, restaurants, and other points of sale throughout the state."

Learn more about egg nutrition, classroom materials for egg-related education and resources, and the U.S. egg industry from The American Egg Board, at www.aeb.org.