May 18, 2022

Farmers still getting raw deal

Extra! Extra, read all about it, American food dollar continues to shrink as grocery bills reach new
records.
A food dollar is not like the normal George Washington, it is in fact the most important expenditure on
domestically produced food by U.S. consumers. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s
marketing service, the overall Consumer Price Index (CPI), a monthly measurement of inflation, rose at
an annual rate of 8.5% in March, a 40-year high.
The core CPI in March, which strips out volatile food and fuel prices, was up 6.5% year over year. Over
the last three years, the country has faced economic turmoil from global pandemics, political change,
war, and a consumer longing for normality. Neighbors are more distant from each other than ever both
socially and physically. Change is nowhere in sight, and it’s every last man and woman for themselves.
It starts with food.
A great friend once told me, “Those who are hungry fight. If we feed everyone there will be no reason
for war.”
I guess what my friend was getting at is that everyone in this world really is “hangry,” some just wear
their stomachs on their faces. However, in present times it is harder and harder to keep our children fed,
are farmers planting, and our political counterparts at bay.
The following report shows the share of the food dollar that farms receive. While the farmer’s cut has
not changed much from the 2021 pre-holiday report, it has changed significantly from one year ago.
ITEM ———————————-RETAIL ———— FARM
1 lb. bacon ————————— $ 16.49 ———— $ 1.06
1 lb. top sirloin steak ———— $ 10.49 ———— $ 1.98
2 lbs. bread ————————— $ 3.99 ———— $ 0.17
5 lbs. fresh carrots —————- $ 3.99 ————- $ 2.11
6 pack beer —————————- $ 9.99 ————- $ 0.05
18 oz. box cereal ——————— $ 4.99 ————- $ 0.12
1 lb. tomatoes ————————- $ 2.99 ———— $ 0.43
1 doz. eggs ——————————— $ 2.19 ————- $ 1.07
5 lbs. King Arthur flour —————— $ 3.49 ———— $ 0.59
1 lb. boneless ham ———————— $ 12.28 ———— $ 1.06

1 lb. lettuce ——————————- $ 2.99 ———— $ 0.19
1 gal. fat free milk ——————— $ 3.79 ————- $ 1.52
1 lb. fresh apples ———————- $ 1.25 ————- $ 0.76
10 lbs. russet potatoes ——————- $ 6.99 ———— $ 1.32
2-liter soda ——————————— $ 0.99 ———– $ 0.08
4 oz. wheat bagel ———————- $ 0.80 ———— $ 0.01
In 2021, farmers profited, on average, 15 cents for many of the items listed above. This amount has
gone up by one cent to a national average of 16 cents. However, retail prices for the same items have
risen 3%-17%. Many factors have contributed to price increases, but the cost of processing raw food has
risen only 1.5 cents, from 15.2 cents to 16.7 cents per food dollar.
We have all seen, shared, posted, ranted about, and blamed gasoline prices for causing historic
inflation. Many blame fuel prices for more costly food. Even though the cost of transporting food has
increased for the third consecutive year, it now contributes but 14.1 cents per food dollar.
Take another look at the list of prices above. Gas and production costs account for but 30 cents of the
increases in 2022.
What should the average consumer do? The best advice is simple. Shop the sales, monitor food
waste, freeze fresh foods, buy local.
Most importantly, VOTE WITH YOUR DOLLAR!

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