Durham farm hatches 'egg share' to help meet demand

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Thursday, January 19, 2023
Durham farm hatches 'egg share' to help meet demand
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As egg prices continue to soar, local farms are met with a growing demand for eggs, such as the Jireh Family Farm in Durham, which offers an "egg share," so the community has eggs

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- As egg prices continue to soar, local farms are met with a growing demand for eggs, such as the Jireh Family Farm in Durham, which offers an "egg share," so the community has eggs to eat.

"Everything from people coming to the farm, online sales, picking them up here, driving up to our store, or we even have a subscription that you can get a lower price, lock in your price throughout the whole year, so you're guaranteed eggs," owner Immanuel Jarvis said.

The sticker shock at the egg aisle is not as shocking to Jarvis, who said he knew this would happen.

"I think the consumer is just realizing, "Wait a minute, what's going on? $5.99? $6.99? $7.99?" Jarvis said. "Last night, I was in the grocery store, and I saw eggs for $8.99."

For Jennifer Jones, who was shopping at Walmart on Thursday, the egg prices were too much to bear.

"The egg prices are astronomical," Jones said. "I just met a lady yesterday who says that she had a farm. I got her contact information and I will be taking a trip to her house to get fresh eggs that I don't have to pay $23 a box for."

Jarvis said factors such as the avian flu, which has wiped out millions of birds, including chickens, and the trickle-down effect of gas prices contribute to the rising costs.

"When you take hundreds of thousands of fowl off of the market, they can't produce eggs," Jarvis said. "Second ... the cost of diesel and the cost of gas has risen up your grain, your corn, your barley, all of those things, and they trickle down. So, now feed is more expensive and there's less inventory in chickens."

Richard Goforth with the NC Cooperative Extension said the small outbreak of avian flu in North Carolina was able to be contained, however, the outbreak is "definitely very concerning to the industry."

"Once a farm gets infected, it's going to be at least probably a million birds we're talking about that are infected," Goforth said. "We're doing everything we can to control it."

Although Jarvis said his flock is doing well, there are times and seasons when chickens have cycles where they don't produce as many eggs.

"We can go from having 60 eggs a day to literally 10 eggs a day when it's winter," Jarvis said. "Think about it. Why would a chicken want to bring forth young when it's 30 degrees outside?"

However, Jarvis said they're keeping up by increasing the number of chickens to 350 expected this year, with 150 already nesting in a brooder.

"For small farmers, the challenge that we have is trying to be able to secure enough funding on a monthly basis to take care of our responsibilities," Jarvis said. "It's not a cash-rich type of industry."