Egg prices rising as California chicken law takes effect
January 2, 2015
Chicken egg prices are expected to rise across the U.S. early in 2015, following the implementation of a California law requiring farmers to house hens in cages with enough space to move around and stretch their wings. [CBS Sacramento]
In 2008, California voters passed Proposition 2, which requires larger enclosures for egg-laying hens. California farmers then feared they would suffer a competitive disadvantage, so in 2012, the Legislature passed a bill applying the regulation to out-of-state farmers who sell eggs in the state.
California is one of the nation’s largest egg consumers. The state also imports about one third of its supply of eggs.
The new law, which took effect Wednesday, is requiring farmers to place fewer hens in each cage or to invest in revamped henhouses. Farmers are then passing along the expenses to consumers.
Egg prices will rise 10 to 40 percent, UC Davis economist Dan Sumner said.
Prior to the law taking effect, six major egg-producing states sued California, claiming the state was violating the Commerce Clause of the Constitution by dictating market prices elsewhere. California appealed in the lawsuits, then other states appealed. The appellate process is ongoing.