Utahns struggle as avian flu and inflation skyrocket egg prices

Reading Time: 2 minutes Skyrocketing egg prices have been a heavy burden for many Utahns to bear. What is causing the price increase, and how are Utahns coping with the changes?

Dollar bills lie on top of a carton of eggs.Reading Time: 2 minutes

College students and everyday consumers are struggling to cope with the recent dramatic price inflation of eggs. The high prices, a culmination of a national record-breaking avian flu pandemic and overinflated animal feed, have been a concern for retailers and consumers across the country. For Utah residents, this increase has been detrimental.

“According to the U.S. Congressional Joint Economic Committee, Utah’s inflation is up 14.9% from last year, tied with Colorado for the highest percent increase,” explained Ally O’rullian, a staff reporter for ABC4 News. This means “Utahns are paying $881 more every month.” 

These inflation prices have pushed Utahns into the highest possible category of personal consumption expenditures, even surpassing states such as California and Hawaii, according to statistics published by the United States Congress Joint Economic Committee

Now, in the midst of dealing with this inflation, Utahns will be forced to spend more on eggs, a traditionally affordable staple in many American households. 

“It’s definitely frustrating,” explained Andrew Furner, a UVU junior majoring in exercise science. “Eggs are an amazing source of protein and nutrients for me, [but] because [of] the rising in prices, it’s made it so I’m not as inclined to buy eggs. I have chosen to find other sources of protein to save money.” 

“I think the rising places are ridiculous,” stated Sadie Pollister, a UVU sophomore majoring in marketing. “I used to buy eggs as an affordable way to eat healthier protein with ease and now I’ve had to adapt to finding alternatives or just raising my grocery budget to accommodate the price raise.” 

Rising egg prices have had negative effects on farmers and businesses as well as students and everyday consumers. Julie Clifford, owner of Clifford Farm in Provo, Utah, has gone through extensive measures to make sure that her chickens — none of which have contracted the deadly virus — have been able to remain healthy during the pandemic.

“Our farm is close to the lake … and we have completely shut the farm down,” Clifford stated. “We don’t let anybody outside of our immediate family on [the] farm; we used to do tours and things [but now] we don’t do that. We don’t take in any outside birds; it can be brought in by waterfowl, so we have been very controlling as far as the outside time for our birds. They used to have free access during the day to go outside or in … [but now] we are not doing that.” 

Clifford explained that the national egg crisis is not just due to the cost of feed or infected chickens but also because of the time it takes for farms to reset after an outbreak. “It’s not only the birds that have been put down, but that it takes them almost a year, by the time they clear their farm, to produce again,” she stated. 

Clifford also explained that by law, when one bird per flock contracts avian flu, the entire flock needs to be put down to avoid contamination. Thankfully, Clifford farms has been able to avoid taking these measures. 

The Review hopes to continue developing this article in the future.