A TAMWORTH farmer has told a government inquiry into caged eggs he had concerns for the future of industry.
It comes with sections of the industry somewhat in limbo after Coles announced it would no longer stock cage eggs after 2023, while a number of other food manufacturers have begun to opt away from the product.
The state government held its first hearings on it inquiry on the use of battery cages for hens in the egg production industry recently.
The select committee was brought together to examine a broad range of issues including animal welfare, the rights of consumers to be fully informed of the sources of eggs, and the potential economic and social effects of banning the use of battery cages.
Tamworth egg farmer Bede Burke was called to the inquiry and, with this wave of change bearing down on the industry, he foresaw huge capital costs coming for producers.
"One of the key things that worries us is the security of current investments," Mr Burke said.
In evidence given to the inquiry, Mr Burke said he'd spent about $5 million on cage infrastructure he described as "five-star accommodation" for the 106,000 chickens on his farm.
He raised concerns about not having certainty to plan for future investments and how that would set-up the next generation of farmers.
Mr Burke said he had to pull out and "trash" cage infrastructure on three occasions during his time as an egg farmer and with no resale value it was a significant cost to wear.
"Tractors, at the end of their commercial lives have a trading value, with cages and hens, there's no value," he said.
"From that perspective, it is going to be tough."
He argued there would need to be assistance in terms of "structural adjustment" otherwise it could terminate their "position in the industry".
The inquiry heard from industry stakeholders, veterinary scientists and animal protection agencies across two days in Sydney.
Committee chair, Animal Justice Party MLC, Emma Hurst said it was important to "modernise existing legislation and deliver an egg production system that reflects evolving animal welfare science and community expectations".
The inquiry received 450 submissions from the public.