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Farmers earn only 14.3 cents of every Thanksgiving food dollar

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While trying to find the biggest turkey in the grocery store to be the focal point of your Thanksgiving feast, consumers will notice higher prices across the board. However, producers are not the reason for the uptick in prices. According to National Farmers Union, for every dollar Americans spend on Thanksgiving meals this year, farmers and ranchers will earn approximately 14.3 cents.

“Ordinarily, Thanksgiving is a time to gather with our loved ones and enjoy a big meal,” said NFU President Rob Larew. “But for many Americans, the cost of traditional holiday foods may simply be out of reach for some families.”

As you can see, the largest share comes from ham, with pork producers receiving 0.95 cents. However, sweet corn has only a 0.05 cent return for producers. 

Not only are farmers only receiving 14.3 cents per dollar on average, but consumers are also paying more for the their Thanksgiving dinner. According to Farm Bureau’s 36th annual Thanksgiving survey, the average cost of this year’s classic Thanksgiving dinner for 10 is $53.31 or less than $6.00 per person. This is a $6.41, or 14 percent, increase from last year’s average of $46.90.

The farmer’s share of every dollar consumers spend on food has fallen from 50 percent in 1952 to less than 15 percent today. However, there is a small uptick from last year’s data. Farmers and ranchers only received 11.9 cents per dollar last year during the thick of the pandemic. 

Even though consumers are paying more for food this year, almost none of that is being passed on to America’s family farmers and ranchers. Multiple waves of mergers and acquisitions during the last several decades have resulted in agriculture and food supply chains that are uncompetitive, fragile, and underpay farmers.

“The National Farmers Union is fighting for stronger enforcement of antitrust laws and breaking up the corporate monopolies that use their size to unfairly take advantage of farmers and ranchers while forcing consumers to pay higher prices at the grocery store,” added Larew, “Enough is enough; someone must stand up to these corporate monopolies destroying family farms and undermining our national food supply.”

NFU members are actively advocating for the following policy changes to support fair and transparent agriculture markets:

  • Stronger enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act (PSA)
  • Improving price discovery and ensuring fair and accurate market information
  • Facilitating competition and more diverse market opportunities
  • Reinvigorated antitrust enforcement
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