Food Economics and Your Food Dollar
While U.S. consumers spend less of their income on food than ever before, farmers are continuing to get less and less of the consumer food dollar and are going out of business at alarming rates. Meanwhile corporate agriculture profits are continuing to increase.
Consider the following:
- Corporate agribusiness profits increased 98 percent during the 1990s; meanwhile, in 2002 farmers earned their lowest real net cash income since 1940.
- Modern industrial agriculture is making farming unprofitable for many. For more than 60 percent of farm households in 1998, farming actually lowered the household?s before tax-income.
- Taxpayers provided $22.9 billion in subsidies during the first three years of the “Freedom to Farm” law (1996-98), but 10 percent of the recipients (144,000 participants) collected 61 percent of the money.
What can you do?
- Buying food directly from local farmers reduces the portion of your food dollar going to corporate agribusiness and ensures that farmers get their fair share of your food dollar. Buy local whenever possible.
- Local farmers will reinvest more of your food dollar in your region. Buying local food increases the circulation of your food dollars locally, in effect “creating” money and economic prosperity in your region.
- Buying fair trade products ensures that farm workers and producers elsewhere get a decent wage and enjoy safe living and working conditions. Look for the fair trade label and buy fair trade products whenever possible.
New Reports Dispel Notions of a Booming Farm Sector
Other Articles on Food Dollar
Diana Deumling, Mathis Wackernagel, & Chad Monfreda – Jan 1, 2005
Fred Kirschenmann, Steve Stevenson, Fred Buttel, Tom Lyson and Mike Duffy – Feb 11, 2004