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#70010 - 12/25/03 06:10 PM Recent high egg prices
Bruce Smith Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 07/17/02
Posts: 560
Loc: Michigan
Store eggs have been amazingly high around here. Large went to $1.89 a dozen a couple of weeks ago, and are still mostly over $1.50. There was a little sign posted at the grocery store in our nearby small town, the gist of which is as follows: The reasons for the recent spike in egg prices are 1) Consumption is up by 2%, largely because of the Atkins diet and recent announcements that eggs aren't as bad for people as we had been led to believe. 2) Three million birds were slaughtered in California because of the END outbreak 3) The UEP (don't know what this is) animal care certification program is causing layers to have more room in their cages, and this is reducing flock size.
Anybody have reason to think these are the real reasons for the price increase?
Just before this happened, our feed went up by 75cents per cwt around here, due, we are told, to a spike in the protein (soybean) market. The bean market was up, and has come back down some. My last feed fell by 25 cents to $10 per cwt. I found it strange that feed costs were not listed as part of the over all causes for the price spike.
Does anyone know if there is any prospect of the price staying high? I could make a killing if I could raise my price to $1.50 or $1.75 per dozen, like Lee has done in his area. My guess is that in about six months all the needed new layers will be coming online and the high price won't last long after that.

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#70011 - 12/25/03 06:39 PM Re: Recent high egg prices
Anonymous
Unregistered


That's interesting that the store had a sign explaining it. The cheapest I saw eggs in the store yesterday was 99 cents a doz. for small. Or 99 cents for 8 brown ones. Other sizes were well over $1. I think UEP is United Egg Producers?
We wonder if soybean prices will spike due to Mad Cow ... feeding more soy protein to cattle instead of animal by-products. As for me, I'm on the Atkins diet and have been eating eggs almost every day for months. It's been great!I lost almost 40 pounds while enjoying eggs and bacon for breakfast 5x a week! A lot of people we know went on Atkins a year or so ago but I thought they were nuts until I tried it. Well, they are still nuts, but a little thinner ...
Ann

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#70012 - 12/26/03 05:23 AM Re: Recent high egg prices
Bill Ludwig Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 07/17/02
Posts: 2582
Loc: Ohio
Part of the cause may be the closeing of Buckeye egg farms. If indead they have shut down operations. Last news I heard was that they would be out of operation by years end. If I recall correctly, Buckeye had 14 million layers to dispose of. They were being shut down for repeted and multiple violations. I belive a radio news bite said they produced 4% of the nations eggs. My facts may be wrong however. Eggs have been high in our area too. We dont buy production egg though. When our gals production is down like it is now we go to a ma & pa operation not far from us in Amish country. Nice big brown eggs are only $1.10 a doz. unsized and unclassified but very good eggs. The owner knows we usualy want eggs when we come in so if he is out he will go get them while we shop. My wife will feel them to see if some are still warm comming straight from the nest.

Bill

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#70013 - 12/26/03 07:04 AM Re: Recent high egg prices
Anonymous
Unregistered


It's hard for me to believe that shutting down a few million hens can have much effect considering that 70 billion eggs have been produced annually in the early 2000s. But, then I reconsidered --- 70 billion eggs per year is about 200 million a day. If the population of laying hens fell by 20 million that is 10% of the US production. That might have some observable effect on price. Certainly increased demand - the Atkins high protein diet is being blamed for the higher price of beef as well (this before this latest mad cow episode).

It may well be that all this mad cow and other issues / problems with factory farming techniques that are driven purely by profit considerations helps people like us in the end by generating consumers who distrust the mega-suppliers. Those distrustful consumers still have to feed their families and they can be certain that naturally, organically, locally produced eggs and meat from our farm here will have no such risks.

My family gets beef from a local producer of organic beef. It means a lot to me to know that I'm not killing my kids with the food I give them. More and more people are thinking that way now. The mega-producing factory farms may be in the process of self-distructing. That would allow the resurrection of the family farm. There are millions of us who would like to be able to make a competetive living in Rural America. As it stands now, you have to have an investment of several millions of dollars in land and equipment to make $10K a year. And if you didn't inherit a farm from your folks or if you didn't sell a little crackerbox house in California for millions, it is extremely difficult to get started.

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#70014 - 12/26/03 07:35 AM Re: Recent high egg prices
CJR Online   content
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8490
Loc: Montana
Leee, Have always felt that the small farms have always raised the products that are the Standard of quality that the megaproducers wish they could produce, but advertise that they DO! And the small farms have been the basis of all food production, including eggs, however precarious the business. I do like your possible projection that the huge commercial enterprises could self destruct, leaving the smaller farmer the position he used to hold in our food supply And this would mean local suppliers again. However, there are no Abatoirs or Processing Plants in our entire state any more, as far as I know. Everything goes to the midwest (and no Chisholm Trail to get them there). I think the last one was in Billings, MT and there are few Auction rings left, even for selling any local livestock. Except for the poultry processed on the Colonies, for direct distribution to towns, via roadside stands and a few markets, no poultry is now processed any place in this huge state, that I am aware of. It would be quite a startup of processing plants! Of course, this goes for all kinds of manufacturing, as well--gone to another place-- and quality is largely gone! Time for the Farmers Union, and all the other Farm organizations to take a relook at opportunity for the future. (I used to be able to take my fryers and broilers to a neighborhood processor--now it's a do it yourself project--!) There is always HOPE, not to go back, but to go ahead for real quality and safe food. CJR

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#70015 - 12/26/03 12:06 PM Re: Recent high egg prices
D. Caveny Offline
Ruler of the Roost

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 1102
Loc: Arizona
CJR dream on.....our day in the sun is long gone. As you can see by reading this site and the poultry connection, most folks here have a few pet chickens and very little husbandry (if any) as kids on a farm. Pretty soon most folks won't even know what a chicken or a cow looks like let alone be able to recognise cuts of meat by the muscle groups (I'll bet 99/100 can't look at a bone-out T-Bone vs rib-steak and tell you which is which. So called factory farms are what supplies food to the world and most of us are totally irrelevant as far as the overall picture.

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#70016 - 12/26/03 02:39 PM Re: Recent high egg prices
Anonymous
Unregistered


I made this same point several months back when a discussion came up regarding inhumane animal treatment and mass production. Now, I have another reason to bolster my previous opinion - the rise in transferable illnesses due to a multitude of reasons - primarily inferior care of the animals - whether it be in their feed, their living quarters, or the human expectation for them to produce more than nature intended which can promote stress and illness within the animal. The real pity is that many are not motivated to improve these systems until it affects the human population. I do believe everything comes full circle - and the glory days of the small farmer WILL rise again, because people will not continue to support industries which may ultimately harm them and who blatently show little regard for anything except a buck. People are more educated about what is going on in some of these industries than they were in the past and alot of folks won't buy into it anymore. I know that most of the folks around here support our local farmers and smaller operations and are willing to drive the extra mile to put their money where their ethics are...and where they can be assured of quality - even if the price is slightly higher. I notice too, people are gardening more - and I don't think it's solely because they suddenly got a green thumb - I think much of it stems from a feeling of mistrust in the bigger operations - fear of pesticides, foreign shipments etc. It may take a very long while, but I definitely see alot of people who long for the "old ways" and who are putting their money where they feel it most beneficial to their family's health and safety. I know I do.

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#70017 - 12/26/03 04:12 PM Re: Recent high egg prices
Anonymous
Unregistered


My Dear Caveny, please permit me the luxury of wrapping myself in Jean's lovely, warm dream. It can happen.

In France, confinement poultry facilities are already outlawed. The rest of Europe may follow suit soon. McDonald's has some 'humane criteria' for their egg suppliers to obey (a weak attempt, but motion in the right direction). Now, if Europe and the rest of the world refused to import our products because of the factory-farming way they are produced, there would be serious changes here in the US.

No one was more surprised than I when our organically produced, natural eggs started flying off the shelf of our lone commercial outlet. Even the store owner is amazed that people he never thought would, will pay $2 a dozen for eggs that are produced without chemical / medicinal inputs.

Caveny, this teaches me an important lesson. Even the South Dakota Rural People are worried about what we are doing to our environment and our food by seeking profits at any cost (such as feeding chicken offal to chickens and beef offal to beef and so on). Highly respected local 80 year old farm people have told me that they're worried about the agrichemicals in the groundwater and the chemicals/antibiotics/hormones in our food supply.

We have built quite a little clientel here in Brookings, South Dakota for our natural and organically produced eggs. We have found a following here in South Dakota where everyone is Republican and tighter than tree bark but still concerned about the quality of what they eat. It may actually be possible to save the family farm and decentralize food production - we could certainly use some help from our lawmakers in the form of "anti-trust" laws to bust the megaproducers, but it could happen, just like it has happened in France.

It could happen. And when consumers get out of this "cheapest is best" mentality and discover quality, we'll be on a roll.

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#70018 - 12/26/03 04:17 PM Re: Recent high egg prices
Anonymous
Unregistered


We desperately need a farmers' union (or other organization with some deep pockets) that has the cajones to mount a blitz radio and TV advertising campaign that will show the average Citizen exactly what factory farms are. If we could do 10 times what the anti-abortion people have done (without killing people) we could make major changes in the US farming model. Why doesn't PETA do something useful?

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#70019 - 12/27/03 08:09 AM Re: Recent high egg prices
Anonymous
Unregistered


It's just wrong to use the words 'farmer' and 'union' in the same sentence...

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