VAN ETTEN, NY (WENY) — Egg prices have jumped 59 percent since 2022, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. There are a couple of factors at play, with one being a major drought that affected the production of corn and soybeans, leading to the increased cost of chicken feed.

Farmers are having to pay much more to feed their flocks, and the price eventually trickles to the consumer.

“With that drought, corn and soybeans struggled. So, the cost of the feed for the chickens goes up because that’s their number one thing they consume is corn and soybeans. So, with the cost of feed going up, it’s like anything else, it causes the cost of eggs to go up.”

In addition to rising prices, Ike Mallula from Red House Ranch in Van Etten says bird flu, or avian influenza, has been the driving factor in increasing egg prices nationwide. Although his chickens have stayed healthy, Mallula says illnesses like bird flu have an even stronger correlation to a rise in egg prices.

“It happens in farms where there’s hundreds of thousands of birds. It reduces the population of layers available to produce eggs,” Mallula said, adding, “Fortunately, we have not been exposed to it here, and our birds are quite fine.”

The disease spreads rapidly, affecting more than 58 million birds since January 2022, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

“We buckle down and try to figure out how to eradicate it as fast as we can,” Painter said, adding, “How to keep everything clean, separate, and keep the air moving in that area.”

Ike and Haley expressed how times like this are especially important to support local farmers. They say with the cost of transportation also on the rise, you’re saving money shopping locally.