MEADOW BRIDGE, WV (WVNS) – If you go to the grocery store to buy some eggs to decorate for Easter weekend you may be surprised how much the price of eggs has increased since last year.
Local farmers said they are being forced to charge more for eggs because the cost of egg production went up significantly.
Agriculture Miss United States Representative for West Virginia Marty Rae Walker-Owen runs a small business in Summers County selling pasture-raised, all-natural eggs.
Walker-Owen said she started selling eggs for two dollars a dozen four years ago, but this year she says she’s been forced to double what she charges because the prices of feeding her chickens and transporting the eggs have made it impossible for her to keep prices where they were.
“If you look in the grocery stores right now, you’re looking at 6.99, 7 Dollars for heritage breed eggs,” said Walker-Owen. “The price of feed and the price of fuel is really going to make those prices continue to jump. And if we get the avian influenza here in West Virginia then I look to see those prices increase even more.”
Nationwide, egg prices saw the effect of avian influenza, or bird flu, causing prices to rise even higher. But according to the USDA Farm Service Agency, there are currently no cases of the bird flu reported in West Virginia.
“We haven’t seen any of it around here or had any reported cases yet,” said Keith Richmond of the Farm Service Industry. “That’s not to say it’s not here, we just haven’t had any reported cases. If it does hit we could see an increase.”
Walker-Owen said another one of her business’s biggest costs before selling the eggs is packaging, which is yet another industry affected by the spike in fuel prices
“As fuel prices go up the cost of packaging is going to go up as well,” said Walker-Owen, “So I think as small producers, we’re going to have to just dig in, cut corners where we can, and try to hang in there as the market goes up and down. That’s agriculture.”