Monday, March 27, 2023

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Mobilizing Georgia voters in a non-election year is crucial for voting rights groups, Philadelphians over 50 will play a major role in the mayoral primary, and the EPA is finalizing a new air quality rule.

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Michigan becomes the first state in decades to repeal a "right to work" law, death penalty opponents say President Biden is not keeping campaign promises to halt federal executions, and more states move to weaken child labor protection laws.

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Finding childcare is a struggle everywhere, prompting North Carolina's Transylvania County to try a new approach. Maine is slowly building-out broadband access, but disagreements remain over whether local versus national companies should get the contracts, and specialty apps like "Farmers Dating" help those in small communities connect online.

Farm Group Asks FTC to Investigate Egg 'Price Collusion'

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Tuesday, January 24, 2023   

A national farmers' advocacy group is asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the possibility of price collusion between major egg producers.

Eggs now average more than $4 a dozen nationally. Iowa reflects the trend, where a dozen eggs cost more than two-and-a-half times what they did a year ago.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has blamed a deadly avian flu outbreak and supply-chain problems for the egg shortage and sharp price hikes. But the rural advocacy group Farm Action contends its research proves those factors are not to blame.

Dee Laninga, senior writer for Farm Action, said her group investigated the USDA's data.

"We saw nothing that justified these egg prices, these price hikes," Laninga stressed. "They are up 138% since last year. That's more than double. Meanwhile, companies that haven't reported a single case of avian flu are raking in record profits, reaching as high as 40% in some cases."

In its letter to the commission, Farm Action called on chairperson Lina Khan to investigate, prosecute any violations of antitrust law and ultimately, "get the American people their money back."

Iowa is the top egg-producing state in the nation, according to United Egg Producers.

Some egg producers have said the avian flu outbreak has made it difficult to get new laying hens. Inflation and supply-chain issues are also being blamed. But Laninga countered such factors do not justify the dramatic price increases.

"They blame a supply-chain disruption, but we don't actually, when we take a closer look, see any supply-chain issue that would justify the price hikes," Laninga asserted. "The avian flu outbreak does not explain it. The average flock sizes in 2022 never dropped more than 6% to 8% from previous year's levels."

So far, the commission has declined to comment, and the USDA reports egg prices are down slightly nationwide.


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