Roughly 11 Percent of the Thanksgiving Food Dollar Goes to Farmers

Brian GermanGeneral

The National Farmers Union (NFU) has found that for every Thanksgiving food dollar spent, farmers and ranchers receive only 11.3 cents.  The annual Thanksgiving edition of the NFU Farmer’s Share publication examines the retail food price of traditional holiday meal items to determine the amount that farmers get back for each item that is produced.

Thanksgiving Food Dollar“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,” NFU President Roger Johnson said in a news release. “While consumer holiday food costs continue to decline, incomes for American farm and ranch families are dropping precipitously. 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.”

Some of the biggest gaps between consumer costs and what farmers typically receive are seen for stuffing, turkey, rolls, apple pie, and beer.  For a 12-pack of rolls that cost $2.29, wheat farmers only receive $0.04.  A pie costing $5.69 will net farmers only $.14.  Farmers will only receive $.08 for stuffing that consumers pay $4.59 for.  Finally, for the featured item of a Thanksgiving dinner, a turkey that retails for $1.29 per pound will only produce $0.06 per pound for farmers.

For much of the year farmers typically receive 14.8 cents of every dollar consumers spend on food.  The remaining 85 percent of food costs are usually directed toward retailing, marketing, distribution, wholesaling and processing.  The Thanksgiving edition of the NFU Farmer’s Share report shows that farmers receive even less than the average amount for the items traditionally served on the holiday.

The information used to determine the amount farmers receive for every Thanksgiving food dollar spent is derived from the monthly Agriculture Prices report compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.  That data is compared to average prices for grocery items from Safeway supermarkets.


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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West