The farmers’ share of the food dollar has reached an all-time low.
According to the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS), for every dollar consumers spend on food, U.S. farmers and ranchers earn just 14.6 cents. That is a 17 percent decline since 2011 and the smallest portion since reporting began in 1993. The remaining 85.4 cents cover off-farm costs like processing, wholesaling, distribution, marketing and retailing.
In the last 5 years, the U.S. lost nearly 70,000 farm operations, according to the U.S. Census of Agriculture.
President of the National Farmers Union Roger Johnson says even though farmers are more productive than they’ve ever been, the ERS data shows a deteriorating economy.
Johnson adds, “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.”