US farmers getting less and less of every food dollar

“We are in the midst of an agricultural financial crisis,” says NFU president

Roger Johnson

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The US National Farmers Union is warning that agriculture is headed for a financial crisis amid reports that farmers’ share of the food dollar has fallen to its lowest level in 25 years.

NFU president Roger Johnson cited a new USDA Economic Research Service release that shows farmers get just 14.6 cents of every dollar spent by Americans on food. That’s down 17 per cent decline from 2011 and the lowest number since USDA began keeping track in 1993.

The rest of that dollar, 85.4 cents covers off-farm costs like processing, wholesaling, distribution, marketing, and retailing, Johnson noted.

“We’ve got net farm income roughly half of what it was five years ago,” Johnson said in a Farm Journal story. “Projections for the next 10 years are not much better.”

Johnson says he prefers supply control mechanisms built around voluntary incentives that encourage less production as prices fall.

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