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Bird Flu Driving Up Egg Prices

DES MOINES, IA (Radio Iowa) The bird flu outbreak throughout the state is helping to drive up egg prices. Economist Brian Earnest with CoBank, which is part of the Farm Credit System, says the nation already saw a significant decrease in egg layers due to the pandemic. The virus will only exacerbate the shortage.

“If we continue to see these flock depopulations, especially at the rates we’ve been seeing, that continues to put pressure on availability even into this fall,” Earnest says. The outbreak has already led to the culling of 24 million birds in commercial and backyard flocks across the nation. Earnest says the price of wholesale eggs rose to three dollars a dozen last month. He says prices are likely to fall in the summer but tight supply will continue to plague the industry. Iowa Ag Secretary Mike Naig says he’s concerned about seeing a repeat of the 2015 outbreak which took a one-point-two BILLION dollar toll on the state.

“We’re all interested in looking at the cost of food right now. There’s food price inflation for a lot of reasons. But we don’t want to add on top of that shortages because of high path,” Niag says. Rembrandt Enterprises laid off more than 200 workers after the northwest Iowa egg producer lost its flock of more than five million chickens to the virus.
(By Kendall Crawford, Iowa Public Radio)

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