Whether they’re poached, fried or hard-boiled, the eggs on your plate this morning cost twice as much as a year ago. The U.S.D.A. says a dozen grade-A eggs are averaging $1.92 nationwide, up from just over a dollar last summer and 84-cents a carton last April. Elizabeth Dahlstrom, consumer affairs director for the Iowa Egg Council, says price hikes have left some shoppers — scrambled.

Dahlstrom says, "Pretty much everywhere, egg prices have definitely gone up. Egg prices fluctuate every year throughout the year. They’re always higher in the winter and then the cheapest during the spring. That’s just due to supply and demand and different factors." She says Iowa is the nation’s leader in egg production and in egg processing. Iowa has 55-million layer chickens producing 13.5 billion eggs a year.

In spite of that, Dahlstrom says Iowans are having to, shell, out just as much for their eggs as everyone else in the country. "Prices right now are higher than they have been in several years and that’s because of basic supply and demand," Dahlstrom says, "in other countries around the world, they’ve had issues with avian influenza or weather problems and there’s a shortage of eggs. A lot of the eggs from the United States are being exported to other countries, causing the prices here to rise."

She says there are other factors too, including the skyrocketing costs of fuel and two key Iowa-grown commodities. Dahlstrom says, "Because of higher transportation costs and the high costs of corn and soybeans, of course, feeding the chickens costs more so eggs cost more." Still, those who get egg-cited over eggs say they’re a great value for the money and they keep for at least a month if stored properly in the original carton.