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Do you eat food?

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posted on Jun, 18 2005 @ 01:40 AM
I am going to quote this page and many others.

The issue makes me so mad I just WISH people would read this and understand farmers better.


On a recent Saturday as I was making my weekly stroll through the grocery store, I began thinking about what the grain farmers sell is worth on the retail shelf. With that in mind, I priced four common items manufactured with the grain American farmers produce.
The first item on my grocery list was spaghetti. A 16-ounce package was priced at $1.39; if grain producers received full retail price for their goods, an equivalent price would be $83.40 per bushel. But, at that time, durum wheat in Noonan, N.D. brought only $3.85 per bushel.
A 16 ounce loaf of bread was $1.05 - 73 loaves can be made from one bushel of wheat. That equates to a $76.65 per bushel producer price. Wheat cereal flakes can be retail priced up to $3.68 per 18 ounce box or $196.27 per bushel. However, the price of wheat in Beloit, Kan. was only $2.70 per bushel. Paul Harvey recently noted that if Tiger Woods' picture appears on that cereal box, he receives 10 cents while the farmer who produces the grain receives only 3 cents.
The final item on my list was corn flakes. An 18 ounce box was priced at $3.38, which would mean full retail producer price for corn would be $168.24 per bushel. But, in Adair, Iowa, corn farmers were being paid $1.55 per bushel at that time.
Every time we hear about an agribusiness merger, proponents of that merger tell the industry that it is justified by greater efficiencies, lower prices for consumers and higher profits to producers. Cereal for $3.68 per box doesn't seem like a low price to me, and $2.20 per bushel wheat is definitely not a profit for farmers.
It just seems unfair to me that farmers, who are trying to insure you and I have enough to eat, are penalized with low prices while I have to pay $196.27 per bushel for my breakfast cereal.

Now I live in Canada and the prices are even lower.

So what does the farmer make out of box of cereal?

About $.02 for farmers

How Much of the Cost of Food Services and Distribution Goes to Farmers?
The estimated bill for marketing domestic farm foods–which does not include imported foods–was $498 billion in 1999. This amount covered all charges for transporting, processing, and distributing foods that originated on U.S. farms. It represented 80 percent of the $618 billionconsumers spent for these foods. The remaining 20 percent, or $121 billion, represents the gross return paid to farmers.

The cost of marketing farm foods has increased considerably over the years, mainly because of rising costs of labor, transportation, food packaging materials, and other inputs used in marketing, and also because of the growing volume of food and the increase in services provided with the food.

In 1990, the cost of marketing farm foods amounted to $343 billion. In the decade after that, the cost of marketing rose about 57 percent. In 2000, the marketing bill rose 6.9 percent. These rising costs have been the principal factor affecting the rise in consumer food expenditures. From 1990 to 2000, consumer expenditures for farm foods rose $211 billion. Roughly 92 percent of this increase resulted from an increase in the marketing bill.

The cost of labor is the biggest part of the total food marketing bill, accounting for nearly half of all marketing costs. Labor used by assemblers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and eating places cost $252 billion in 2000. This was 4.7 percent higher than in 1999 and 64 percent more than in 1990. The total number of food marketing workers in 2000 was about 14.3 million, about 17 percent more than in 1990. About 80 percent of the growth in food industry employment occurred in public eating places. A wide variety of other costs comprise the balance of the marketing bill. These costs include packaging, transportation, energy, advertising, business taxes, net interest, depreciation, rent, and repairs. Their relative proportions are illustrated in the accompanying dollar chart.

Oh and look at the happy little image they made !

Source is here

Now overall who is getting "raped" here?


If the people in agriculture took more initiative you could be paying far less for the products. Just imagine that and think about it the next time you pick up some product like a box of cereal mostly likely worth under 20 cents total.

The hidden statistics tell all about the nature of farming. I myself believe just about all Canadian farmers are ready to give up.

Check out this table of total net income.

Now lets compare it to some other people.

Enjoy your produce?

Lets check out some input costs shall we?

Lets buy a new tractor !

Oh wow only 98 thousand dollars !

Lets look at how much they cost a few years ago.

What is sad about it is:

A- Check out how much the prices rise in a short time and what trend do you see?

b-Thats cheap because its a small tractor.

But wait it gets better my friends !

You can't do everything with just that tractor.

Lets buy a new combine !

Its only 275 thousand dollars !

And again the historic graph.

Of course you will also need something to actually plant with.

Only 140 thousand dollars.

But it gets much better. Sure these are basically one shot buys as you can use them over again. (I will explain used equipment later and theres a reason why)

What about the yearly inputs?


Up up and away !

How about some Monsanto seed to ruin your life !

That graph is off the charts.

Of course theres other types of seed and chemical / fertilizers but its all generally the same. Some are better than others.

Of course theres gas and such.

We all know that one.

If we were to go back to say the 90s and beyond we would see a massive graph of the same trend. Only up.

Now about the used machinery. Why not buy used you stupid farmers? Well they do and they dont. (I know we do) But you see its also not that simple. You still need money to buy them. But its hard if not impossible to get a loan for used farm equipment.

Farmers are being forced to expand to make a living. Its pretty damn hard to make a profit with small land use.

Another thing I should add. Farm programs, subsidies etc.

Oh boohoo farmers get paid by complaining to the government etc. Well maybe thats partially true. You know what farm programs do? Nothing. Why? Because the market doesnt change. So you get some fast cash to make it through a year, well next year will be the same. If they only took action (the governments) and solved the problem once everyone would be pleased.

Do you think farmers get rich from payments? Hah. I know someone that recieved 800 dollars in payment for the entire year.

Of course inputs are near 200 thousand dollars.

When they announce big cash payments (millions in aid) take the time to divide it up to the number of farmers. Its like the country winning the lottery and dividing it all up. Sounds nice at first. Then you get the check.

Farmers dont want programs, they want results.

I hope you took the time to look at this and think about your produce the next time you are out buying or eating.


posted on Jun, 18 2005 @ 01:11 PM
Exellent Post!

My mother's side of the family are mostly farmers. Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec - corn and dairy country from all the forests cut by the early logging indutry.

I remember seeing farmers at work when I was a kid 20-30 years ago working in small patches of crop in-between other patches left fallow or planted with nitogen fixing plants to be plowed under in the fall. They employed people and provided a virtually guaranteed seasonal paycheck and sometimes threw in room and board. I even remember seeing a few horses doing some of the work.

Of course the "green revolution" of the sixties and seventies changed all that. Now it's all about the "inputs". The machinery, the fertiliser, the pesticides, the herbicides, the seeds, prices set by a large surplus, the transportation costs of delivering those surpluses to market and of course the oil that makes it all run.

Large scale industrialised farming is a dead end. It's not sustainable either environmentally or economically.

I'd like to buy a local farm around here and see what it takes to run it and produce organic crops with the help of pre-industrial or simply early industrial methods. The Amish in the US, and the Menonites I saw when living in Southern Ontario for six years, seem to be doing just fine. Of course they're not into that whole conspicuous consuption driven by fashion and planned obsolecence thing. They're also heavy into religion... probably something to do with living so close to the "creator's" bounty.

Input costs will only keep rising in this post cheap oil age.

We need to learn to live simpler and closer to nature. Processed foods and lack of physical work is killing us with obesity, cancer and heart disease and we pay four bucks per box of froot loops for the priveledge to do it to ourselves.

I think organic farmers who know how to farm without large oil based inputs will once again rule the world as the landlords who feed the people.

It's just a matter of time.


[edit on 6/18/2005 by Gools]

posted on Jun, 18 2005 @ 01:31 PM
Well organic farming is a growing trend now thats for sure. Our neighbours recently switched to organic.

But if you were previously farming using chemicals, fertilizers etc theres a catch.

It takes 4 years to be certified organic.

Basically for 4 years its gonna be tough. I dont even know what they do for the 4 years until they are certified.

What does certified organic mean?

Certified organic refers to agricultural products that have been grown and processed according to uniform standards, verified by independent state or private organizations accredited by the USDA. All products sold as "organic" must be certified. Certification includes annual submission of an organic system plan and inspection of farm fields and processing facilities. Inspectors verify that organic practices such as long-term soil management, buffering between organic farms and neighboring conventional farms, and recordkeeping are being followed. Processing inspections include review of the facility's cleaning and pest control methods, ingredient transportation and storage, and recordkeeping and audit control. Organic foods are minimally processed to maintain the integrity of food without artificial ingredients or preservatives. Certified organic requires the rejection of synthetic agrochemicals, irradiation and genetically engineered foods or ingredients. To find out more about the national organic certification requirements and organic program, please go to the USDA National Organic Program website

This is for the united states. Im not sure how it works in Canada. It should be very close if not the same.

Is organic food really a significant industry?

Approximately 2% of the U.S. food supply is grown using organic methods. Over the past decade, sales of organic products have shown an annual increase of at least 20%, the fastest growing sector of agriculture. In 2001, retail sales of organic food were projected to be $9.3 billion (Organic Consumer Trends 2001. Published by the Natural Marketing Institute, in partnership with the Organic Trade Association, Organic foods can be found at natural food stores and major supermarkets, as well as through grower direct marketing such as CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) and farmers' markets. Many restaurant chefs across the country are using organic produce because they desire its superior quality and taste. Organic food is also gaining international acceptance, with nations like Japan and Germany becoming important international organic food markets.

This is a great page to learn the ins and outs about organic farming.

This will most likely answer any question you have about the system.

Link for Canadian Organic Farmers

posted on Jun, 19 2005 @ 03:09 PM
I currently live in a VERY small town (less than 100 people) that is surrounded by miles and miles of farms. The wealthiest people around here are the farmers. Heck, the Mexican migrant workers who do all the labor earn up to $1500 per week.

How many square feet of farmland does it take to produce a bushel of wheat? I'm guessing about 16. A 4'x4'patch. Now take into account that most of today's farmers have hundreds or thousands of acres that the inherited from their parents, who inherited the land from their parents, etc. The farmers around here are born with a silver spoon in their mouth, send their kids to private school, etc. The initial price of a dollar or so for a bushel of wheat may seem low, but it is not when taken into context.

posted on Jun, 19 2005 @ 04:25 PM

Originally posted by PeanutButterJellyTime
I currently live in a VERY small town (less than 100 people) that is surrounded by miles and miles of farms. The wealthiest people around here are the farmers. Heck, the Mexican migrant workers who do all the labor earn up to $1500 per week.

How many square feet of farmland does it take to produce a bushel of wheat? I'm guessing about 16. A 4'x4'patch. Now take into account that most of today's farmers have hundreds or thousands of acres that the inherited from their parents, who inherited the land from their parents, etc. The farmers around here are born with a silver spoon in their mouth, send their kids to private school, etc. The initial price of a dollar or so for a bushel of wheat may seem low, but it is not when taken into context.

Like any business, its not all profit. Take your input costs and factor them in.

As for how much it takes to produce a bushel, its impossible to say because it all depends on factors of condition and seeding method.

Farmers are not born with a silver spoon in their mouth

Like all good businesses, they had to start somewhere.

And no we are not all massive industrial farmers with millions of dollars, if thats what you are thinking.

Your migrant worker example, when put into my position, makes far more money than me.

Our farm barely breaks even.

posted on Jun, 19 2005 @ 05:22 PM
You think capitalism should be those who work should be rewarded?

I think you have capitalism confused with something fair and equitable.

Unregulated Capitalism is for every crook, con-artists, and middle man to conive their ways to fortune.

When they have stolen enough money they can eventually buy their own politicians. Just like they do today.

posted on Jun, 20 2005 @ 08:19 PM
Capitalism rewards the WORST of human personality traits...

... greed... selfishness... dishonesty... outright lying... conspiracy...

.. yeah sign me up for some of that.

I guess I'll never be a good capitalist. Like I believe people should be able to make a living any way that they can without hurting someone else.. and capitalism.. in this day and age.. I don't think cares HOW you make the money.. even if it does destroy the country you live in or someone elses and the world too. I can't get with that.. and I'm not greedy.. enough money is enough money for me... and I can't lie to someone to make a buck.

Take weapons manufactures for example. HOW its possible that private companies get to make weapons... I don't know... there is just way too much potential for abuse there as far as I am concerned. What happens if a war doesn't happen? Like through out almost the entire 90s the US almost didn't wage war on anyone.. we were close to world peace there. So what do you do? Make a 9-11 and start a war. Anything to make money.

Capitalism running amuck destroys lives. Period.

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