Rising egg prices affect Delta citizens

Kenneth Osborn

 Since July of 2022, egg prices have been on the rise by 49% due to inflation and the recent avian flu killing 57 million birds, mostly egg-laying hens and turkeys. 

The first case of avian flu in the United States was found in an American wigeon duck in South Carolina. This was the first U.S. case since 2016. 

The avian flu can infect other birds by infected bird’s saliva, nasal secretions, and feces. Even surfaces that have been contaminated by infected birds need to be deep cleaned. Wild birds can infect chickens if existing nesting materials are not removed and if there are holes in the poultry farm. 

“Yeah, most of it enters via wild birds. So basically trying to get rid of that source- like no wild bird should be able to enter your egg production unit,” said Holly Heckendorf, a student teacher at Delta High. 

Farmers can stop the spread of the avian flu. “It’s all biosecurity,” said Kendal Bradley, DHS FFA advisor and teacher. “The hog industry has done an outstanding job. Everyone showers before they go in and everyone showers after they leave,” said Heckendorf. Showering helps clean the skin and clothes so that wild birds can’t contaminate your clothes and get tracked into chicken pens. 

 “Employers and employees aren’t allowed to handle other birds and then come to work and handle those birds,” said Heckendorf. 

If wild birds infect poultry farm chickens, then the flu can spread like wildfire if not appropriately contained which results in the death of infected chickens whether it’s humane euthanization or death caused by the avian flu itself. This leads to fewer eggs being laid and egg prices going up to make up for eggs lost. 

Inflation is also a big reason why egg prices have been going up caused by supply and demand. Shipping snarls and worker shortages caused by COVID-19 have caused the supply to go down. 

Meanwhile, the demand for eggs has stayed the same. This causes a shortage of products for consumers. “I think they’ll level back out and probably go back down and reach a supply and demand equilibrium price because right now a lot of it is disease. It’s just going to take time if birds are dying and stuff to level back out that population and meet those demands,” said Bradley. 

“I think they will level back out and probably go back down and reach demand and supply price again, the equilibrium price,” said Bradley. 

Everyone has been affected by recent egg prices. Bradley said, “Yeah, well I think eggs are a staple to everyone’s diet or many people’s diet so with prices they have to buy less and it affects what our protein sources are.”  

Families have been affected by egg prices more. “ They just have to buy less and have to be more conscious of that or if they are buying eggs then they might not buy the loaf of bread or the package of ground beef that they planned on buying,” said Bradley. 

Hopping Chick is a local program started by Paige Kehmeier and Aylin Bayles where they sell eggs at a lower price than supermarkets. Which has seen an increase in sales since egg prices have risen. 

The program has also been affected by egg prices since having to raise their prices from $3 a dozen and $5 for eighteen which have raised to $4 a dozen and $6 for eighteen. “ With the prices rising right now I feel like it’s important to help support our teachers and all that they do for us,” said Bayles.