Imagine if that figure was widely reported, rather than farmers getting rich from food prices?   USDA reports that total production expenses are expected to be a record-high $279.2 billion in 2008.  Consider where the vast percentage of those dollars are spent and the many benefeciaries in small towns.  Add the multiplier effect to of employee wages and it becomes obvious that agriculture is providing a stimulus that’s vital to struggling economies across the country. And, then add in property taxes paid by farmers to support roads, schools and other local infrastructure needs.  Don’t overlook the importance of agriculture’s stimulus at a local level in a down economy. 

As you hear comments about rich/greedy/over subsidized farmers, do you point out how their dollars work in local economies?  While we all understand fertilizer and fuel costs are through the roof, most of your neighbors don’t care until it impacts them.

USDA indicates that the 2008 increase will be the sixth straight gain since 2002. They estimate costs will rise another $22.2 billion (8.6 percent)  in 2008 after a projected increase of $24.5 billion ( 10.5 percent) in 2007.  See http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/FarmIncome/nationalestimates.htm#productionexpenses for the details.  And people are complaining about food prices?  Maybe we should help them see the other side of the equation and explain what’s happening to agriculture’s costs, such as feed prices, which are projected to increase another 18% this year – for the third year in a row.

Food prices are projected to rise around 5% total in 2008 while food production costs are projected to be up 10.5%.  Seems to me there’s a disconnect.  What are you going to do about it?

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