CoBank Reviews Changes in the Dairy Industry-A Message for Egg Producers?


In a January 11th release, CoBank, a cooperative and a member of the Farm Credit system, recently posted a review of trends in the dairy industry. Some of the findings are applicable to egg production and may indicate parallels common to the dairy case. CoBank determined that at the retail level customers are scrutinizing labels and containers with specific reference to claims on housing and welfare.

The egg industry has been well served by the American Humane Association certification program although it is not clear that consumers recognize the investment in capital and operational costs to maintain high standards of housing. It is obviously incumbent on AHA to publicize their program so that compliant producers can benefit from the AHA seal. Egg cartons are now emblazoned with numerous claims both valid and spurious and may well be confused.

CoBank cited the situation in the dairy industry relating to sourcing of milk for branded products such as yogurt and cheese. To post a non-GMO or USDA Organic Certified claim, producers must make investments three years ahead of marketing and accordingly cost-plus agreements are now common in the dairy industry providing individual farmers with a cash incentive to attain certification.

The attraction of locally produced food is also a consideration in many east and west coast urban locations. CoBank attributes a “sense of being part of the regional eco-system rather than an anonymous global supply chain” as the attraction. Consumers may feel that local production has environmental benefits through reduced transportation.