US farmer’s share of food dollar falls to all-time low

Grain Central, April 26, 2019

FOR every dollar United States consumers spend on food, farmers and ranchers there earn just 14.6 cents, according to a recent report by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS).

This value marks a 17 per cent decline since 2011 and the smallest portion of the American food dollar that farmers have received since the USDA began reporting these data in 1993.

The remaining 85.4 cents cover off-farm costs, including processing, wholesaling, distribution, marketing, and retailing.

The US National Farmers Union (NFU) uses the annually calculated statistic as a barometer of the state of the farm economy.

Responding to the updated report, NFU president Roger Johnson said: “Even though family farmers and ranchers are more productive today than they have ever been, they’re taking home a smaller and smaller portion of the American food dollar.

“This one data point doesn’t paint the full picture of the farm economy, but when considered in the context of depressed commodity prices, plummeting incomes, rising input costs, and deteriorating credit conditions, it is certainly clear that we are in the midst of an agricultural financial crisis.

“Conditions for farmers have been eroding since 2011, and there’s only so much longer they can hold on. Many have already made the heartbreaking decision to close up shop; in just the past five years, the United States lost upwards of 70,000 farm operations.

“As a country with a growing population and growing nutritional needs, we can’t afford to lose many more. We sincerely hope this startling report will open policy makers’ eyes to the financial challenges family farmers and ranchers endure on a daily basis and convince them to provide the support they so desperately need.”

Source: NFU



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  1. Roger Crook, April 26, 2019

    We should not be surprised, the same thing is happening here in Australia. David Byard hit the price of meat right on the head, too little is finishing with the producers, see here:
    I wrote several articles about the dangerous state of the wheat industry in Australia, all on my website The Global Farmer, here is one:
    We have been on a productivity binge for too long believing that it will increase profits, it hasn’t for the vast majority, rural debt increases by about one billion a year and rural depopulation is a real problem, without backpackers I wonder where we would be, they pick so many crops and they plant so many acres, sorry hectares. If we stop them coming in what will agriculture do?

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