Farmer's Share of Food Dollar Shrinks...Again

Farm Finances 042919

"We are in the midst of an agricultural financial crisis," says National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson.

He said that after looking at a new USDA Economic Research Service release. It says for each dollar spent by American buyers on food farmers and ranchers get 14.6 cents of that.

It represents a 17 percent decline since 2011 and the lowest number since USDA began keeping track in 1993. 

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

"We've got net farm income roughly half of what it was five years ago," says Johnson. "Projections for the next 10 years are not much better and that creates [a difficult] environment, not just on farmers and ranchers but in particular on folks who just got in the business."

He believes anyone who just started farming in the last ten years is in a lot of trouble.

Johnson says his delegation thinks agriculture should go back to the old supply control mechanisms built around voluntary incentives that encourage less production as prices fall.