New numbers indicate inflation may be declining, but grocery stores across Vermont still have steep prices for some staple food items. The cost of a dozen eggs has risen substantially within the last couple months, and the demand for eggs increased during the holidays and into the new year.
The owner of North Ferrisburgh’s Fern Bridge Farm, Kelly Otty, says the supplies it takes to raise and maintain a flock of chickens has risen in cost.
“For us it’s primarily grain prices, feed costs, which I know for a lot of other local farmers that I’ve talked to it’s the same for them,” says Otty.
In fact, the rising cost of supplies are impacting farms across the country. For Otty, the cost of a 50 pound bag of chicken feed has risen nearly 50% since 2019. These extra incurred costs are requiring farmers and distributors to raise their prices.
“We raised our prices once during the pandemic and we’ve actually been talking about probably having to raise them again if prices don’t stabilize,” Otty notes.
The Vermont Foodbank has seen a dramatic price increase from Vermont egg producers, amounting to a 200% rise in 2022. Another contributing factor to the high demand and price increase is the Avian Influenza outbreak.
“That’s resulted in 5% to 10% of the national egg laying population having to be put down, so demand is up and supply is unfortunately down right now,” says Erin Sigrist, the President of the Vermont Retail and Grocers Association.
“Thankfully for us, we haven’t seen that on our farm,” says Otty.
She adds that many large-scale farms don’t always raise chickens from eggs, and get their flocks from hatcheries in the regions that have been hit the hardest with Avian Influenza.
“In December they were fairly high, but they’ve gone down a little bit since the end of December, I think that we’ll continue to see that,” notes Sigrist.