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Indiana Egg Industry Impacted by High Prices

by 5m Editor
5 May 2008, at 12:08p.m.

US - Already, the average price for a dozen large eggs is $2.16 in the first quarter of 2008. The American Farm Bureau Federation reports that's an increase of 55 cents more than the fourth quarter of 2007, writes Laureen Fagan.

They're used to seeing pretty big eggs in Kosciusko County. After all, on Main Street in Mentone is arguably the world's largest egg, a 3,000-pound concrete oval proclaiming the region's interest as the "egg basket of the Midwest."

But these days, those eggs come with some pretty big price tags, too.

With milk, wheat, rice and other food costs skyrocketing, consumers are seeing their food dollar shrink at the supermarket.

But eggs, too, have spiked over the past year, up an astonishing 29.2 percent over 2007 prices, according to the most recent April numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

And government projections on egg prices, released 10 days ago, have now been upped to another 3 or 4 percent increase this year.

Some of America's top egg producing operations are in Kosciusko County. Among them? Midwest Poultry Services in Mentone and Creighton Brothers in Atwood.

So what's driving the prices so high?

One factor is the high cost of feeding poultry. The USDA says the industry uses 100 billion pounds of grain each year, and those prices continue to spike.

Government and industry analysts say the same impact corn and other grain costs are having on milk prices and production, for example, are having the same kind of effect on the cost of producing eggs. With oil prices high and corn used for alternative fuels, the feeding costs are up.

At the same time, the U.S. exports about 15 percent of its eggs. Japan, Hong Kong, Canada and Mexico account for much of the trading in eggs.

View the SouthBendTribune story by clicking here.

5m Editor