Egg prices are turning people to local, specialty eggs

Egg prices are turning people to local, specialty eggs
Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 6:48 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 26, 2023 at 6:49 PM CST
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) -The increasing price of eggs is forcing some people to turn to smaller, local farmers who sell specialty eggs on their own.

In the last year egg prices have gone up around 60 percent, which is the highest rate seen since 1973. Cary Sims, Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Agent, says this is a product of a shortage due to the avian influenza.

“The bird flu, properly known as avian influenza, is a really harmful disease. It infects wild fowl such as ducks and geese, and as those birds migrate and come to a farm near someone’s farm and they can spread that flu,” Sims said.

This decreases their egg laying potential and there is no way to cure it. David Anderson, Texas A&M Agrilife Extension economist, says in the last year over 50 million birds have been lost due to the avian influenza.

“If we went back to December 21 really before the avian influenza outbreak, we would have had about 327 million egg laying chickens in the US. You fast-forward a year, and we have 308 million egg laying chickens. And that’s a pretty drastic cut in production,” Anderson said.

In December of 2021, a dozen eggs could be purchased for $1.78. In December of 2022 it was at $4.25. In the last month, that number has risen 11 percent.

Statistically, specialty eggs such as organic or cage free have been more expensive than commercial eggs. Boyd Bishop with Bishop Farms in Hemphill sells his eggs for $5 a dozen. He says he’s seen the demand increase.

“I see a bigger demand now for fresh eggs, for farm raised eggs,” Boyd said.

He says his farm has had no cases of avian influenza.

“No, I haven’t seen that here, we haven’t seen anything, at least in our flock anyways,” Boyd said.

Anderson says demand can also be driven by the holidays.

“We can think about the holidays in the fall driving more baking, more uses of eggs, but we also have Easter coming up and that’s usually important in that consumer demand for eggs,” Anderson said.

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension says egg prices will continue to break records.