Pretax earnings in the quarter for the shell eggs division were $32.3 million, compared to $4.2 million in earnings for the same quarter in 2007, the company reports. Sales for the quarter were $181 million compared to, up $61 million from the first quarter of 2007.

Among the contributing factors for sales and earnings growth cited by company officials were significantly stronger markets, improved volumes, effective cost control, and volume growth in higher margin brand and specialty eggs. Average shell egg prices were $1.62 per dozen in the quarter compared to $1.06 a year earlier.