If you've read my Friday Fun Farm Facts posts at all, you can't have missed the fact that compared to other people, Americans spend very little of their disposable income on food. In discussions about rising or "unbelievable" grocery prices, I find myself biting my tongue a bit. I think we've been spoiled by very affordable food prices, and we really don't know how good we have it. A little teeny spike in the prices, and we're whining like there's no tomorrow.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
The reality is that often our cheap food is subsidized by those who raise it.
Right now, milk is selling in the range of $1.70-2.10 per gallon in my area. A news article from an Iowa TV station reports that farmers are getting paid about 90 cents per gallon, while the farmers' costs are at $1.40 per gallon. That's right--for every gallon of milk they produce, they lose 50 cents.
Many family farmers run a pretty tight ship. Sometimes a spouse works off-farm to provide benefits and much-needed income. Even with that, losing money at this rate becomes alarming quite quickly.
I am not one to propose bail-outs for farmers (or anyone else, for that matter). But I would dearly love to see the cheap food system overhauled. I think the government has to be involved in fixing this broken system. Could you help encourage them to do so?
More info about the dairy farmers' plight can be found at the Farm Aid website.
Are any of you hearing about the dairy crisis in the media?