By Julie Murphree, Arizona Farm Bureau: Arizona Farm Bureau’s 3rd quarter food marketbasket survey will release Tuesday morning to statewide media. And, we’ll be able to tell Arizona families their egg purchases will be very economical (a dozen eggs went down in price). But, it begs the question, “What will egg prices be like in 2015 especially with California’s new Caged Hens law going into full force next year?”

The Wall Street Journalreported that a federal judge’s ruling “dismissed a lawsuit challenging a California law that requires all eggs sold in the state to come from hens housed in roomier cages.”

The suit was brought forward on behalf of Iowa,Nebraska,Kentucky,Oklahoma and Alabama. Which tells me a lot of egg producers in other states have not yet made adjustments to cage size, a significant cost to egg farmers.

What will California's 2015 law mean for egg prices? The jury is still out on that.

Right now, I’m speculating on what might occur with egg prices. Though one of the healthiest and economical forms of animal protein, the California requirement might signal a significant price change in eggs.

Or not.

One reason for possible stability in egg prices next year despite the oversized California market –- at least in the southwest --- could be Hickman’s Family Farms.

Regardless of the uncertainty of California’s new law on the egg market, the Hickman family has been expanding their farm operation and building barns to the required standards of the California law. As a result, you’ll have more chicks laying eggs in spa-like conditions … I know I’ve been their twice to see how the Hickman’s hens hang out and it’s pretty impressive.

I asked Glenn Hickman, CEO of the family operation, about what this all means. His focus is on the customer and that’s why they’ve built new barns and provided for just about every segment in the egg market. “Consumer choice drives our marketing and production,” he said.  “California consumers wish to have eggs produced under different requirements than consumers in other states. We sell brown eggs, white eggs, and cage free, organic and nutritionally enhanced eggs. We will continue to service our customers in California and throughout the west.”

Regardless, it will be interesting to see what unfolds … and one things for certain, Hickman’s Family Farms will be ready!

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