The 2008 earnings came on sales of $139 million compared to $111 million in 2007. Pretax earnings through June are $43.3 million, more than six times higher than the $6.9 million for the first half of 2007. Egg sales for the first half of 2008 were $320 million, compared to $231 million for the first half of 2007.

Land O’ Lakes officials say that strong markets contributed to the improved earnings, with egg prices over the first six months averaging $1.43 per dozen, versus $1.01 per dozen through June of 2007. Improved prices were partially offset, however, by increased feed and energy costs.

Also contributing to first-half performance, the company says, were improved volume in higher-margin branded and specialty eggs, which were up 20 percent, and a continued focus on cost control. Company officials report some softening of egg prices in the second quarter, which they say was expected. Overall, egg volume was down 7 percent for the six months ended June 30, 2008, compared to the same period in the prior year.