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American Egg Time Capsule

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Touch the Soil News #819 (Feature photo – Grading Eggs in 1942 in the U.S. – Library of Congress) Before we talk about the past, the U.S. egg industry has been experiencing challenges over the past few years. In 2016, the nation’s egg producers were just coming off one of the world most devastating avian bird flu epidemics – over 50 million birds had to be destroyed and egg production dipped vicariously. In 2017, as egg production was ramping back up, modest oversupplies send prices to some of the lowest levels – far below the cost of production. What the future holds for eggs and egg producers is uncertain.  …

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Costco Eggs See a Change of Venue

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Touch the Soil News #803 (Feature photo – Hutterite women return from working in the fields at sunset – Rainer Mueller – CCA 3.0) Making history in the U.S. is the unusual business arrangement by Costco with Hutterite colonies of Montana to grow, grade and pack organic eggs. News outlets have been abuzz with the recent opening of a 58,000 square foot facility ($9 million cost) that will process more than 280 million eggs a year. Located in Great Falls, Montana, the facility will supply Costco with Montana-grown, free-rage, organic eggs. The eggs are sourced exclusively from over 30 Hutterite colonies in Montana which together make up the ownership of…

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Corruption in the Food Chain Hurts Everyone

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Touch the Soil News #796 (Feature photo public domain) The global scandal surrounding Fipronil – an illegal insecticide used to treat chickens against ticks and fleas – has reached colossal proportions. Millions of eggs tainted with the product have been pulled from the shelves of 15 European Union nations plus the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Hong Kong. One of the largest grocers in the EU pulled all the eggs off its shelves in 4,000 stores at one point about a month ago. The scare has alerted health officials around the world and egg laying farms are being investigated around the globe. As of this writing, news reports from many corners…

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Egg Tremors

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Touch the Soil News #771 (Feature photo Maksym Kozlenko CC SA 4.0)) Aldi, the largest grocer in Germany with over 4,000 stores, pulled all eggs out of its store last week. Widespread traces of an illegal chemical – Fipronil – has been discovered on eggs in the European Union. Historically, the chemical was used to kill ticks and mites in egg laying flocks. However, the European Union – over health concerns to humans – has made use of the insecticide illegal. It was discovered that egg producers in the Netherlands were using a product to keep mites and ticks out of their facilities that contained Fipronil. Millions of eggs have…

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Should You Have Your Own Chickens for Eggs?

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Touch the Soil News #586 (feature photo – Phil Catterall CC 2.0) The consolidation in the agricultural industry just keeps on going. This is illustrated in virtually all farm-raised foods, including eggs. Not that you are going to jump out and start raising chickens in your backyard – which by the way is gaining popularity in the U.S. Twenty years ago, 99 percent of all eggs produced came from around 350 different farms. Today, 99 percent of all eggs produced come from only 192 farms. There is little question today that the national egg supply can be at risk to Avian Influenza outbreaks (see news piece #581 – Got Eggs?).…

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Got Eggs?

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Touch the Soil News #581 The Avian Influenza is a disease that infects hens that lay eggs. The Avian Influenza is a virus that causes high mortality rates in hens. The only way to stop it is to cull (destroy) the entire flock of hens in which an infected hen is found. Over the last couple of months, the nation of South Korea has been hit hard with Avian Influenza. As of recent, South Korea has had to cull about 20.5 million of its 80 million laying hens. The dramatic decline in egg production is hitting the nation hard. What is spooky about the whole Avian Influenza is that there…

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Clutching for Health

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Touch the Soil News #471 Imagine waking up in the morning in a nation that must feed almost 1.4 billion people, but has slightly less productive crop land than the U.S. with only 325 million people. Now, if that is not enough, imagine that you must compete for a healthy diet with other consumers bidding up the price. Yes, you are in China. This all sets the stage for a booming demand in China for what is called algal EPA-fortified eggs. At the heart of the matter is algae and special strains of algae from which the EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) is derived. Laying hens are given feed that contains the…

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Eggs – When is Big… Big Enough?

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Touch the Soil News #452 Recently, Cal-Maine, America’s largest egg producer (and the world’s largest), announced it was buying Dixie Egg Company. Headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, Cal-Maine has 36.4 million laying hens. When Dixie’s 3.1 million laying hens are added, Cal-Maine will have almost 40 million laying hens which will represent close to 25 percent of the nation’s egg market. Not surprisingly, two of Cal-Maine’s largest customers are Wal Mart and Sams Club. Cal-Maine is a publically traded company that is engaged in the production, packing and sale of fresh shell eggs. The company produces over 1 billion dozen eggs each year. The company can process and pack over 400,000…

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Who is Pledging to go to Cage-Free Eggs – Is Your Favorite Restaurant on the list?

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Touch the Soil News #308 The number of announcements by food companies to source eggs only from cage-free laying hen farms is growing (we’re up to 37). Thanks to research by WattAgNet News, we were able to compile a list of food companies being influenced by science and public sentiment to source eggs from cage-free enterprises. Pressure to end the practice of egg production using battery cages has reached national proportions. Over-cramped quarters leads to greater use of antibiotics to offset diseases endemic to weak and unhealthy birds. See if you can find your favorite restaurant or food company on the list of cage-free announcements: Arby’s BJ’s Wholesale Club Bob…

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The Movement – Cage-Free Eggs

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Touch the Soil News #278 Watt Global Media – which specializes in news surrounding the egg and poultry industries just published all the players in the cage=free egg movement. Following are the companies and time frames when they will be able to source all of their eggs from producers that use cage-free practices.   Completion by 2016 Taco Bell and Shake Shack   Completion by 2020 Arby’s Nestle, Peet’s Coffee, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Caribou Coffee, Panera Bread, Wendy’s,   Completion by 2022 Royal Caribbean Cruises   Completion by 2025 Dunkin Donuts, General Mills, McDonlads, Groupo Bimbo, Qdoba Mexican Grill, Kellogg’s, Carnival Cruise Lines, Subway and Quiznos.   In the Future…

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