There’s an evolution going on in the egg industry to move to cage-free production, and Indiana-based Rose Acres Farms is at the forefront of embracing the innovations needed to meet consumer demands.
Headquartered in Jackson County, Indiana, Rose Acres is the No. 2 egg producer in the United States; producing enough eggs to feed 8 million people two eggs a day through egg laying farms in Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and North Carolina. The company is currently at 15 percent cage-free production and continues to reshape its facilities with new technology and designs to increase that number over the next 10 years.
The massive egg-laying facilities have become advanced manufacturing centers over the years. Rose Acres’ patented system includes miles of egg belts, feeder chains, and manure belts as well as robotic equipment; in fact, no human hands touch the eggs from laying to placing them on a truck for shipping. This increase in technology means that reliable and responsive energy supply is essential to keep the operation running safely and efficiently.
Rose Acres is working closely with Jackson County Rural Electric Member Cooperative (REMC) – a distribution cooperative and Hoosier Energy —a generation and transmission cooperative to ensure that energy usage is on the cutting edge at its facilities.
“We value our relationship with Jackson County REMC and Hoosier Energy,” said Tony Wesner, Chief Operating Officer for Rose Acres. “We have to have them and need their guidance to help us be more energy efficient. More importantly, we have to have proper ventilation and climate controls to keep our birds safe and healthy—they are there at a moment’s notice when we need them.”
The cooperative feeling is mutual with Rose Acres being a long-time member of Jackson County REMC’s who has been able to see the company grow from a small local operation to a national contender in the poultry & egg industry.
“We look at everything from lighting to ventilation to help reduce overall energy usage and demand to help lower energy costs, and help make their facilities as efficient as possible,” said Jackson County REMC General Manager Mark McKinney.
Wesner added that moving to cage-free production does not necessarily lower energy demands and making improvements in facility design will be essential to maintaining costs while continuing the company’s strong traditions, “We take great pride in feeding the world and will continue to evolve and grow as we always have since the company’s inception seven decades ago.”