Journey from Farm to Plate – Step 4

Ever wonder how eggs get from the hen house to the processing plant?

This journey can happen in a number of ways but at the JS West Farms you’ll see that it occurs in only one way. Conveyor systems are the most common way eggs are moved in today’s modern food production systems. In the old days, eggs were hand gathered, one at a time. Eggs were more likely to be damaged by the handling or missed altogether, causing concerns about freshness and food safety. Today most egg farmers employ safe, efficient and fast conveyor collection systems to make sure the eggs go from the hen house to the washer within minutes and hours of lay.

First, the eggs the hens lay roll down a gentle sloping floor to the conveyor in from of their enclosures. Then, the eggs are carried to the de-nester, a piece of equipment that gently moves the egg to a cross- conveyor. The cross conveyor travels with the eggs from the barn all the way to a separate building, the processing plant, where the eggs will be washed, inspected, graded, packaged and refrigerated in a matter of minutes.

What this means for you is that the eggs are collected and processed in a safe, clean, efficient manner, having never been touched by dirty hands. It also means the eggs will be fresh because they can’t lay ‘hidden’ or undetected. Modern technology is use widely used by farmers when it improves the quality and safety of the food they’re responsible for. As egg farmers, we take our jobs seriously and want only the best for our families and yours.

Written by Jill Benson

Jill Benson, Senior Vice President of J. S. West & Companies, represents 4th generation in the family owned and operated diversified set of businesses based out of Modesto, California. Among their interests, J. S. West has three farms with 1.8 million laying hens, feed mill, feed store, hardware store and liquid propane sales and distribution in more than 25 counties in Northern California. Jill is involved in every aspect of the family business. She’s spent much of her career in the egg farming end of the business, from operations to processing to sales & marketing. Jill is active in the company’s real estate interests, propane, safety and communications.

Jill is an active member of the United Egg Producers (UEP), of Pacific Egg & Poultry Association (PEPA) and past President and American Egg Board (AEB), Cal Poly Animal Science Advisory Council, California FFA Foundation Board and Finance Committee at Del Rio Country Club. Jill is a dedicated volunteer, often lending her omelet skills to raise money for various charitable organizations.

Jill is an avid skier, world traveler, accomplished cook and dog lover. She is married to Ken Woodward and they share their time between Modesto and Santa Cruz.

Jill Benson holds a Bachelor of Science Degree, graduating with Honors and Distinction from San Diego State University.