News

An Argument against Cage Free Eggs

   National Association of Egg Farmers Urges Support for King Amendment in Farm Bill in Congress—

The Farm Bill is before Congress every five years and is important to the nation's farmers.  This year it is very important to National Association of Egg Farmers members, as the House version includes an amendment from Rep. Steve King from Iowa that seeks to uphold the U.S. Constitution commerce clause.  In effect that clause says Congress is to regulate commerce among the states, but certain states are implementing laws regulating how eggs are produced outside the state and then imported into that state.  Specifically, they are pressing for removing cages for egg-laying hens.  They claim they are doing it for the welfare of the chicken and the quality of the egg.  

They need to ask the farmers.  

Let's begin with the WELFARE OF THE CHICKEN.  

  • The term "pecking order" is the term applied to chickens establishing dominance.  Research has shown higher mortality among cage-free chickens.  So more chickens together means more pecking.  In cages, that is reduced to a much smaller number.  Cage-free systems have resulted in more broken breast bones.  Forcing chickens into production systems that increase bone breakage is inhumane.
  • There are more external parasites in cage-free farms, specifically red mites.  83% of European cage-free egg farms are already infested with poultry red mites.  All 27 member nations in the EU are about 40% cage-free compared to 16% in the U.S.  Subjecting poultry to parasites is inhumane.
  • Currently, California is struggling with a major poultry disease (Virulent Newcastle Disease) with more than 40 outbreaks in backyard poultry that are cage-free.  Once discovered, these chickens have to be destroyed. Forcing chickens into production systems where they contract poultry diseases is inhumane.

From the perspective of FOOD SAFETY

  • The U.S. Animal Health Association October 17, 2017 Report stated: "Ascarids (round worms) are increasingly being found in cage-free operations with the concern being the possibility of a consumer finding an egg with a roundworm contained inside.  Most all cage-free egg producers have had such an occurrence."  Chickens pick up roundworms when they come into contact with infected feces on the ground.  How will consumers react to finding round worms in their eggs?

Farmers know how to produce safe, quality eggs while caring for their chickens.  Don't take that knowledge away by removing consumers' choices and forcing only cage-free eggs.

It is for these reasons National Egg Farmers is urging support for the King amendment in the Farm Bill.

America vs. the Sugar Lobby

 

On Wednesday, the Senate voted not to tamper with the Depression-era program that protects U.S. sugar growers.  It’s not often conservatives and liberals, Democrats and Republicans, pro-growth conservative groups and the Teamsters agree on something.  In fact, it’s almost unheard of.  But when it comes to the federal government’s sugar program – one of the most egregious corporate welfare handouts in a long list of wasteful programs – these strange bedfellows have found common ground. 

 

Read more: America vs. the Sugar Lobby

Buying eggs—considerations and strategies

Buying eggs—considerations and strategies—

 

There are two buying strategies used to buy eggs:

 

1.      The traditional method contracts a set quantity of eggs for a set period of time (a month, a quarter, etc.) at a fixed price.  Most egg requirements are contracted this way.

2.      Grain Based—is considerably more complicated, but might make sense to a large industrial user under certain conditions.  I’ll explain grain based egg strategy in more detail below.

Read more: Buying eggs—considerations and strategies

Wheat/Corn Ratio--Wheat as Animal Feed

You will often hear analysts talk about wheat prices being too high or low relative to corn.  They use the wheat/corn price ratio as an indicator of how much wheat will displace corn (the largest animal feed) as feed.  They then attempt to translate that information into bushels of demand and calculate the impact on future wheat prices.  
 
Nutritionally, wheat and corn are not equivalent. Corn has about 90 percent of the nutritional value of wheat. That is why corn prices are normally lower than wheat.
 

Read more: Wheat/Corn Ratio--Wheat as Animal Feed

Complexities of the cocoa powder and cocoa butter markets

 

Complexities of the cocoa powder and cocoa butter markets--

 

Price relationships between beans, butter, and powder are never as straightforward as buyers would like.  A change in one component can change the price of the other component in a reverse direction, have no effect at all—or even change the price in the same direction.  It is not a zero-sum ratio even when markets are behaving “normally”.

 

Read more: Complexities of the cocoa powder and cocoa butter markets

Flour Treatments

Enriched Flour

In the 1930s, nutritional surveys conducted by the Department of Agriculture revealed widespread nutritional deficiencies of thiamin, riboflavin and niacin (B vitamins) in the American diet.  These findings prompted the fortification of certain staple foods.  The Food and Nutrition Board recommended a program for fortifying white flour and white bread with thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and iron, with calcium and vitamin D as optional.  

In May 1941, the flour enrichment standards were issued and finally adopted in 1943.  The standards were recently changed, and as of January 1, 1998, enriched flour now also must contain folic acid.  The enrichment of flour has no affect on its baking performance or caloric value.

Read more: Flour Treatments