Egg prices are coming down says egg executive

Oakdell Eggsin Lewiston and sister company Ritewood Eggs in Franklin, ID are a large contributor of eggs to eleven states in the West

LEWISTON – Egg prices jumped when COVID-19 scared everyone into panic buying eggs. The price of eggs was at an all-time high in March, but Cliff Lillywhite, one of the owners of Oakdale Eggs, said the price is coming down fast.

Egg production has grown contribute an estimated $75 million to the Utah’s’s economy.

Oakdell Eggs and sister company Ritewood Eggs are a large contributor of eggs to 11 states in the West. And the two companies’ economic forces at the north end of Cache Valley employ nearly 200 people.

Lillywhite said the jump in prices was due to the high demand when the virus started to heat up

The company couldn’t produce enough eggs for the demand so they looked at other options.

It’s not like you can go out and tell your chickens to produce more,” he said. “We had to go out and buy eggs on the open market.”

He said even at $3 a dozen eggs are a good buy. That comes to $.50 an egg. Not only are they a good source of inexpensive protein they are a good source of other vitamins and minerals.

“Where else can you get all the nutrition and protein for $.50?” he asked.

The high prices were simple ag economics.

“Supply and demand drives everything and outside forces can change things in a hurry,” Lillywhite said. “It makes agriculture as risky as gambling in Las Vegas. We have to sell the eggs in 30 to 45 days or smell them.”

Oakdell and Ritewood Eggs are two separate companies owned by the same family. Ritewood in Franklin, ID is the only commercial shell egg producer in the state of Idaho.

Between the two companies, there are three production facilities: one in Lewiston, another one in Franklin, and then the one in Pasco, Washington.

“All our eggs are from cage free chickens,” he said. “We have the traditional white, organic brown, brown and white, and Omega 3 eggs.”

The company also sells bagged organic fertilizer.

“We are selling a lot of fertilizer this year,” he said. “Sales are up 500 percent for garden compost.”

The beginning of the business goes back to 1905 when Dave and Mark’s father Cecil and grandmother Bertha received 10 chickens as a wedding gift.

Earlier this year, Ritewood Eggs was named business of the year by the Preston Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food census data showed in 2018, Utah produced 1.5 billion eggs, the most ever according to statewide agriculture census data.

The Beehive State is one of only a handful of states that produce more eggs than are needed locally and exports them  to neighboring states and internationally, as far away as Mexico and China.

Egg production has grown over the years and contributes an estimated $75 million to the state’s economy.

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3 Comments

  • John Q Public April 14, 2020 at 12:58 pm Reply

    Egg prices are coming down says ‘eggsecutive’. There, I fixed it for you.

  • Borman April 15, 2020 at 2:42 am Reply

    He said even at $3 a dozen eggs are a good buy. That comes to $.50 an egg.
    He and the journalist do not inspire the confidence.
    $3/12=25 cents.
    You guys cannot do 3rd grade math and yet you try to lecture us on economics and nutrition.

  • Cliff Lillywhite April 15, 2020 at 12:34 pm Reply

    Respectfully, three corrections to the article: 1) I said at $3.00/dozen, a meal of two eggs cost $0.50, not one egg cost $0.50 – that math doesn’t work; 2) I did not say all our eggs are cage-free, they are not, but we are converting as people are ready to buy them. 3) I did not say our compost sales are up 500%, they are up, but I said the seed company I went in to purchase sweet corn seed from for my garden said their business was up 500% this year. Cliff

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