Farmers and ranchers are receiving less than $0.12 for every Thanksgiving food dollar spent, according to a document from the National Farmers Union (NFU). The Thanksgiving Special of the NFU’s Farmer’s Share breakdown shows that producers earn 11.9 cents. Compared to last year, the farmer’s share demonstrated a modest decline. The 2019 report showed that farmers and ranchers earned 12.15 cents of every dollar spent on Thanksgiving dinner.
To determine the farmer’s share of every Thanksgiving food dollar spent, NFU looked at 15 food and beverage items that are most commonly consumed on the holiday. Calculations are made based on information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Data from Safeway supermarkets are also used to determine the price points of common grocery items. NFU points to higher grocery bills being largely responsible for the decline in the farmer’s share of the Thanksgiving food dollar. Food prices have outpaced the overall rate of inflation, with prices increasing nearly four percent over the past year.
USDA figures show that processing, wholesaling, distribution, marketing, and retailing account for more than $0.85 of every food dollar spent in the U.S. NFU attributes the disparity between food prices and what farmers are receiving to increasing consolidation within the agriculture industry. The meat sector has been highlighted as being particularly problematic.
“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,” NFU President Rob Larew said in a press release. “The key to ensuring farmers a fair price isn’t charging consumers astronomical prices – it’s breaking up these companies and restoring competition to the market.”