SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News)– In 2022, the price of eggs in the United States rose around 60% for consumers. Large, Grade A eggs had a 138% price increase, going from $1.79 to $4.25. In a country rippled with inflation, eggs aren’t the only thing that is increasing in price, but it is something everyday Americans feel in their wallets.
Farmers, too, are affected. Most farms have chickens, and therefore produce eggs. For many, especially with smaller land to make use of, eggs are where most of their profits come from. Senela Delic Helgerson is the co-owner of Flippity Flap Farms in Manlius, New York. The farm is located in her and her husband’s backyard.
Many farmers have had to get creative to make chicken feed more affordable. Helgerson started sourcing hers from a local mill that she drives an hour to get to. The cost of transportation is something farmers have to think about, too, with gas prices increasing. She buys all of the ingredients there and puts the feed together herself.
“Even that has gone up,” Helgerson said. “So we had to increase our egg prices as well.”
It was not something she wanted to do, especially because she has loyal clients who have been going to her for years. Many consumers get their eggs from local farms because they are free-range and organic.
Avian Influenza, also known as “the bird flu,” is a large part of why eggs and the food to feed chickens has been increasing in price. It is a virus, so when large flocks of chickens and hens are in such close quarters, it spreads quickly. A lot of the time, it is fatal. The affected animals may show no signs of illness before they die. The sickness has not reached Syracuse chickens yet, although Helgerson noted that she has heard of a case in Oswego, New York.
Losing even one hen can potentially be detrimental to a business. They are the ones producing the eggs.
“Hens don’t lay everyday,” Helgerson said. “There are different kinds of breeds and certain breeds lay more than other breeds.”
The process of selling eggs requires thought and care, and when something like bird flu makes it unpredictable, it becomes harder to produce. When less eggs are being sourced, they cost more in grocery stores around the country.
Helgerson, and many others, have begun farming other products to make up for the money lost. Not only is the price of eggs going up, the price of living is too. Flippity Flap Farms now sells California Meat Rabbits. They are working on expanding this part of their business.