Hickman’s Egg Ranch’s cage-free push
The Arizona egg producer will be 80 percent cage free within five years thanks to market demand for the former specialty product.
Due to the egg market’s rapid shift to cage-free production, Hickman’s Egg Ranch will be 80 percent cage-free production within four years.
Read the entire report about Hickman’s Egg Ranch exclusively in the April issue of Egg Industry.
The company’s reasoning for the switch is because of customer demands.
“I think to a fault, our company has always been willing to mutate and follow the customer. If the customer got big, we had to get big. Now our customer is asking us for cage free, so we’re going to have to do that,” Glenn Hickman, the company’s business leader, said. “I think that we’ve had a willingness always to follow what we felt the market was dictating and not just say, ‘I know better and I am going to produce this product even if I have to sell it at a discount.’”
In February, Egg Industry visited Hickman’s operations in Arizona and sat down with the Hickman family to discuss the 73-year-old family business’ past, present, and future. In total, its flocks in Arizona and Colorado account for 9.1 million birds, ranking it as the 11th largest U.S. egg producer in WATT Global Media’s annual Top Egg Company Survey.
Billy Hickman, the company’s operations leader, said Hickman’s cage-free transition began in earnest in 2016, not long after the dual disruptive forces of highly pathogenic avian influenza and McDonald's Corp.’s pledge to serve only cage-free eggs in the U.S. and Canada by 2025 shook the industry. In September 2015, the company announced plans to add new housing for 2 million cage-free hens at its operations in Tonopah and Arlington, Arizona.
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Comprehensive resource for cage-free eggs available
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