Farmer’s Share of Food Dollar Declining

For every dollar Americans spend on their Thanksgiving dinner this year, farmers and ranchers will earn approximately 11.9 cents, according to National Farmers Union. This marks a slight decline from 2019, when farmers claimed 12.15 cents of the Thanksgiving food dollar.

NFU says the is attributed to higher grocery bills. In the last 12 months, the food prices have risen nearly four percent, far outpacing the 1.4 percent rate of overall inflation.

The rise in food prices couldn’t come at a worse time for American families, according to NFU President Rob Larew.

 “Ordinarily, Thanksgiving is a time to gather with our loved ones and enjoy a big meal. But for many Americans, the typical, food-filled get-together won’t be possible, and not just because of public health concerns. With millions out of work and no additional government support in sight, the cost of traditional holiday foods may simply be out of reach for some families.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, NFU has been pushing legislators to expand the nutrition safety net in order to offset an abrupt rise in food insecurity.

“As cases continue to rise across the country and safety measures are put in place, it’s clear that we have a long ways to go with economic recovery,” said Larew. “In the meantime, it is a moral imperative that we ensure every single American has access to the food they need. By far the most cost-effective and efficient way legislators can achieve that is by expanding SNAP benefits.”

Even though consumers are paying four percent more for food, almost none of that is being passed on to farmers and ranchers. Instead, it’s being captured by the processors, packers, distributors, and retailers in between. Larew says the disparity is largely due to the overwhelming market power held by the largest beef packers.

 “Lax antitrust enforcement has allowed just four corporations to take over 85 percent of beef slaughtering and packing in the United States. As a result, those companies are able to manipulate farmers’ and consumers’ prices to their advantage – and as we’ve seen again and again, they do just that. The key to ensuring farmers a fair price isn’t by charging consumers astronomical prices ¬– it’s breaking up these companies and restoring competition to the market.”