With the price of eggs on the rise, some Michiganders have decided to raise their own chickens
IONIA – Alex Courts noticed that the price of eggs started to go up last fall.
Corts, general manager of Keene Farm Market in Ionia, wasn’t fazed at the time — but that’s changed.
“Once[prices]get to a certain point, which is the highest level we’ve ever seen — sometime in the middle to late fall (2022) — that’s when I was like, ‘Okay, that’s a little bit,’” the courts said.
more:Zeeland is discussing potential allowance for “food-producing” pets, including bees and chickens
more:Why are egg prices so high? And when do they come down?
according to US Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price IndexThe average price of a dozen first-class eggs in the United States was $4.25 in December 2022 compared to $1.79 in December 2021. This is an increase of about 237 percent.
Why are the prices so high? It is a consequence between rising production costs and the outbreak of avian influenza. The USDA has reported that more than 43 million laying hens have died since the outbreak began in February 2022.
There are “many variables” that affect the price of eggs in Michigan, Nancy Barr, CEO of Michigan Allied Poultry Industries, said farmers don’t set the price — they sell their eggs on the open market, with prices changing daily.
“(The effects on the market) include inflation and supply chain costs and employment, which affects everyone,” she said, adding that Michigan white farmers are very sensitive to the cost of fuel prices as well, which directly affects the cost of feed and packaging. .
“On the flip side, eggs are still the most affordable protein Americans can buy, and budget-conscious consumers seeing spikes in beef are choosing to buy eggs, driving demand in grocery stores statewide.”
Parr said the health and welfare of the birds in the farmers’ care is of the utmost importance.
“Avian influenza killed more than 40 million laying hens in the United States through 2022, and while Michigan farmers avoided a major outbreak, our farmers continue to be cautious about preventative biosecurity tactics,” Barr said. “These health and safety protocols also contribute to the price increase.”
And then there’s the shift to producing cage-free eggs — and it’s more affordable.
Keene’s Farm Market in Ionia worried customers might be upset by the high prices. At one time, Curtis said, 12 large eggs cost $5.
“It really stayed that course until late fall, into the holidays and the New Year,” he said.
Curtis said the company has found some brands that offer a better value. They’ve also explored the cage-free egg market, announcing the week of January 9 that large, cage-free eggs were available for $3.99 a dozen.
“He was really good for us,” said the courts, “he was (good) for our customers and he gave us a little bit of value.”
But some Michiganders are tired of waiting for prices to drop. Jamestown resident Patricia Krause Wood TV-8 said She’s received an influx of egg orders after she started raising her own chickens last year.
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Krause told the station that she usually sells eggs for $7 and $8 a dozen, but said the product is of high quality.
“Farm-fresh eggs… are better, and honestly they should be more expensive than the eggs you find in the store because we know what we feed our chickens; we know they take care of them,” Krause said.
At least one municipality is considering changing its law to allow residents to keep food-producing pets, including chickens and bees. The city of Zeeland in Ottawa County has begun to explore this shift after seeing a surge in orders in response to the pandemic and soaring prices.
It is unclear when egg prices will return to normal, but there has been a decline since the beginning of 2023.
“I think there’s hope that things can kind of go downhill from here,” Courts said.
– Contact reporter Ivan Sassiela V email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @tweet.