Print

Farmer's Share

Farmers don't get much pay for all the work they do - here's a glimpse into the farmer's share.
By Ron Kotrba | December 17, 2008
While I was doing research for an article to be published in one of Biodiesel Magazine's sister publications (Ethanol Producer Magazine), I was speaking with a representative of the National Farmers Union who sent me a document called "Farmer's Share." The document lists 15 food or beverage products, the suggested retail price, and how much of that goes to the farmer. It's pretty astonishing. According to NFU, a 13.5 oz. bag of Lays potato chips costs $3.99, but the farmer only gets 7 cents of that. An 18 oz box of cereal retails for $4.49, but the farmer only sees 10 cents.

The NFU is calling on Congress to reexamine food prices, which remain high despite a tumbling in commodity prices over the past couple of months. The point of this, according to NFU, isn't really to have anything done about high food prices other than to show the public it's not the fault of ethanol and biodiesel, as was said repeatedly by Big oil and Big food all year long. Energy prices have certainly dropped, diesel is still priced at a premium to gasoline In some locations diesel fuel is more than $1.20/gallon higher than gasoline.

Out of the 15 items listed on "Farmer's Share" the three that look most profitable for farmers are eggs, milk and cheese. If a dozen eggs retails for $3.89 (which seems high I'm not quite sure if I've ever seen eggs priced that high), the farmer gets $1.03. At $3.79 for a gallon of milk, the farmer gets $1.39. And for a pound of cheddar cheese, which retails for $5.79, the farmer's share is $1.69.