Farmers also impacted by egg prices

Over the last few months, the price of eggs has skyrocketed, making it harder for both shoppers and for farmers.

Reasons for the price increase include the highly contagious Avian Influenza which has affected many poultry farms in the United States. There are even conspiracy theories that the government is doing something to the poultry food to make chickens produce less. Other reasons including things like inflation and the war in Ukraine, along with the fact that it is not currently egg laying season, are making the supply of eggs lower while the demand remains the same or increases, leading to higher prices.

For some farmers across Western New York, the problem boils down to simple math.

“Supply and demand at its finest,” said Mark Nicosia of Gasport in Niagara County said. “Our feed prices have been up since the last election, nothing new there. This past year AI wiped out millions of farms, leaving a shortage, as you have seen. Prices will be down before all these new ‘chicken farmers’ get their first egg. Simple math really, meat birds mature six to eight weeks after a 21 day incubation, hence the price of chicken is coming down. Production egg layers are a 21 day incubation with four to five months to lay. I’ve already seen ads for eggs at $2.99 a dozen.”

Located in the same area, Krys McCarthy said the increase in egg price would be good for small farms.

“I think it’s good that egg prices are up,” McCarthy said. “They’ve been too low for too long and not even covering feed prices for a small farm to be able to make money selling eggs. We want small farms rather than big commercial farms. Well, the smaller you are, the higher the cost is to do business, so prices need to be higher. We want a higher minimum wage then we need to be OK paying more money to cover those wages.”

Andrea Hicks, current owner of Fabled Feather Farm in Hemlock, N.Y., and a former Jamestown resident, said that for many farms it has become not worth trying to sell eggs anymore because of the prices.

“I spent three years in Jamestown trying to build a small egg business, then switched to breeding chickens in the hope that it would be more lucrative,” Hicks said. “When you’re paying $15 a month just in feed, but only earning $18 for your six dozen eggs, there’s no point selling anymore. So much for the ‘living wage’ movement.”

“I’ve heard every possible explanation for the feed costs, from government conspiracies to lack of grain shipments from Russia, but all I know is the egg farmers can’t do anything for the frustrated buyers.”

Closer to home, Jacob Lyon in Frewsburg agreed with Hicks, saying that even though he has raised chickens for about eight years, the costs of raising chickens or selling eggs is starting to outweigh the benefits.

“For me the price change has drastically changed how I’m selling my eggs,” Lyon said. “Last year I was told $3 a dozen was too much for eggs. Suddenly that’s not so expensive anymore. I’m still only selling mine for $4 a dozen but I’m even thinking of raising that to $5. I’ve raised chickens for about eight years now and it’s getting to the point where it’s almost not worth it to own them anymore. The price of feed is skyrocketing and no one wants to spend that much on eggs.”

And for Nola and Anthony Perrin, owner of Nola’s Angels and Horse Rescue in Panama, a lot of the prices currently boil down to it being the middle of winter.

“Everyone has conspiracy theories on the chickens not laying eggs because of the food,” Anthony Perrin said. “It may be so in some cases. In all reality it’s winter. Most chickens don’t produce in the winter molting season. Most chickens are shut in for the winter and not enough light and not warm enough to produce. My chickens are producing because we have heat on them with our freezing temps here in Panama. Egg prices are up due to bird flu and feed prices are up. We lost so many hens and now we are in the winter season. I only raised my price a dollar due to prices of their feed going up. Much like the other animals we feed here, prices keep going up.”

Anthony Perrin said another factor is the ease of technology and the ability to order food and groceries online, rather than locally.

“Hate to say it but it’s much easier for people to go online to pick up and buy groceries than it is to buy from the local farmer,”Anthony Perrin said. “Here at Nola’s Angels and Horse Rescue we recycle and reuse as much as our budget allows us. Every dollar goes to their food. We reuse the cartons and crush shells to give them. Not too many can rely on those accommodations though, not having the knowledge or land to be independent. I’m not a political person so I don’t follow politics or conspiracy theories, more or less I follow what I’ve been taught, following my heart. I’m 46. I don’t believe in video games or modern day stuff like some. I have always been taught hard work gets you further in life. I think that comes from the fact that I grew up as a dairy farmer’s child. We always had our gardens and livestock, never really a grocery store.”

Anthony Perrin said she has concerns for the future, not just because of things like inflation but also because of technology and the government.

“I feel sorry for our future, our children’s future,” Anthony Perrin said. “In the end it will be modern technology and controlled government. A piece of candy that was once one cent is now a dollar. A bottle of soda I once spent a quarter on is now over $2. The plastic and non-recycled materials, it’s never ending. It’s not just egg prices or conspiracy theories, it’s the whole change of life generation after generation. It’s all feed prices. I heard once if you control the farmer you control the world. I have found we are in the state of realizing this is becoming reality.”


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