ONTARIO — Farmers and ranchers who produce the food that goes into Thanksgiving dinners take home just a small portion of every dollar spent on the meals.
According to the National Farmers Union, in its annual Thanksgiving edition of the NFU’s Farmer’s Share publication, the producer takes home just 12.1 cents from every dollar spent on Thanksgiving meals.
The report compares the retail price of traditional dinner items to the amount farmers received from the items they grow or raise.
“As we gather around the Thanksgiving dinner table this year, we should take time to recognize and thank the family farmers and ranchers, who provide our Thanksgiving meals,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “While consumer holiday food costs continue to decline, incomes for American farm and ranch families have dropped dramatically over the past seven years.
“We’re in the midst of the worst farm economic downturn in generations, and we’re hopeful the Farmer’s Share can help illustrate that fact to the general public.”
Over the year, farmers receive an average of about 14.6 cents of every food dollar spent by consumers compared to more than 85% of costs such as marketing, processing, wholesaling, distribution and retailing, the NFU report reads. And then farmer’s share is even lower for Thanksgiving food items, it adds.
However the NFU report says that people who contract with farms to raise turkeys and then resale them receive $0.62 cents per pound.
“The major integrators who control the poultry markets have used their extreme bargaining power to suppress the earning of the men and women who raise our chickens and turkeys while simultaneously taking in record profits for themselves,” Johnson said.
“While poultry growers take all the risk of production, they are receiving just 5 to 6 cents per pound for turkeys and chickens.”
“Thanksgiving presents an opportunity to raise awareness about food production, including misconceptions about food costs,” Johnson continued. “Farmers and rancher play the most valuable role in actually producing that food this is served at holiday dinners, yet they make just pennies on the dollar for their products.”
Farmer Share is based calculations using the National Agricultural Statistics Services, price points of grocery food items at Safeway Supermarkets and Contract Poultry Growers Association of the Virginias.