Cal-Maine Foods Inc., Jackson, Miss., reports a six-fold increase in year-over-year net earnings. For the first fiscal quarter 2008 ended Dec. 1, the company’s net income was $40.2 million, compared to $6.4 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2007. Net sales for the second quarter were $223.7 million, compared with net sales of $137.7 million for the same quarter of fiscal 2007.

For the first six months of fiscal 2008, net income was $58.1 million, compared with $970,000 for the year-earlier period. Net sales for the first six months of fiscal 2008 were $402.3 million compared with net sales of $253 million for the prior-year period.

The positive results for the second quarter 2008 “reflects favorable market conditions, with egg prices reaching record levels,” says Fred Adams, Jr., chairman and CEO of the company. “All of our operations performed well during the period,” he says. Adams notes that the egg industry has received positive reports from both the medical and nutritional communities, and eggs continue to represent a good value compared with other food products. As a result, demand for fresh eggs was strong for both the retail and food service markets as well as demand for eggs used for liquid, frozen and dried egg products. He adds that “the export markets have also been very strong this year, and we expect Europe, Japan and the Middle East to be good markets for eggs in 2008.”

“Looking ahead,” Adams says, “our feed costs remain high, and we expect this trend to continue with the high demand for corn for ethanol use creating additional price pressures.” However, both the egg industry and USDA predict that egg production in 2008 will be similar to 2007, “and this should support profitable egg prices in the year ahead.”