In this file:
· NFU: Farmers Earn 11.9 Cents of Thanksgiving Food Dollar, NFU Farmer's Share Shows
· AFBF: Farm Bureau Survey: Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Down 4%
Farmers Earn 11.9 Cents of Thanksgiving Food Dollar, NFU Farmer's Share Shows
Higher Grocery Prices Demonstrate Need for Nutrition Assistance, Antitrust Enforcement
Source: National Farmers Union (NFU)
Nov 18, 2020
WASHINGTON – For every dollar Americans spend on their Thanksgiving dinner this year, farmers and ranchers will earn approximately 11.9 cents, according to National Farmers Union (NFU). This marks a slight decline from 2019, when farmers claimed 12.15 cents of the Thanksgiving food dollar.
Though farmers’ increasingly small share of food expenditures could be blamed on dropping commodity prices in years past, that isn’t the case this Thanksgiving; after cratering during the pandemic, prices for many agricultural products have mostly recovered. Instead, the shift can be attributed to higher grocery bills. In the last 12 months, the food prices have risen nearly 4 percent, far outpacing the 1.4 percent rate of overall inflation.
The rise in food prices couldn’t come at a worse time for American families, who are experiencing elevated rates of unemployment and food insecurity as a result of the covid-19 pandemic. “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 typical, food-filled get-together won’t be possible, and not just because of public health concerns. With millions out of work and no additional government support in sight, the cost of traditional holiday foods may simply be out of reach for some families.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, NFU has been pushing legislators to expand the nutrition safety net in order to offset an abrupt rise in food insecurity. Congress took some steps to do so with the passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March, which added $15.5 billion to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in order to accommodate more participants and facilitated the redistribution of surplus food from farmers to food banks. In the subsequent eight months, however, most of the CARES Act funding has been spent, and there has been little progress towards securing additional support for nutrition assistance programs.
“As cases continue to rise across the country and safety measures are put in place, it’s clear that we have a long ways to go with economic recovery,” said Larew. “In the meantime, it is a moral imperative that we ensure every single American has access to the food they need. By far the most cost-effective and efficient way legislators can achieve that is by expanding SNAP benefits.”
Even though consumers are paying 4 percent more for food, almost none of that is being passed on to farmers and ranchers. Instead, it’s being captured by the processors, packers, distributors, and retailers in between. Nowhere has this been more evident than the meat sector; retail beef prices have increased more than 10 percent over the last 12 months, but ranchers are earning essentially the same amount for cattle as they were a year ago.
The disparity is largely due to the overwhelming market power held by the largest beef packers, Larew indicated. “Lax antitrust enforcement has allowed just four corporations to take over 85 percent of beef slaughtering and packing in the United States. As a result, those companies are able to manipulate farmers’ and consumers’ prices to their advantage – and, as we’ve seen again and again, they do just that,” he said. “The key to ensuring farmers a fair price isn’t charging consumers astronomical prices – it’s breaking up these companies and restoring competition to the market.”
The Farmers’ Share is based on calculations derived from the monthly Agriculture Prices report produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service and price points of common grocery food items at Safeway supermarket. The farmer’s share of retail turkey sales is reported by the Contract Poultry Growers Association of the Virginias, as national data on farm prices for turkey does not reflect the amount turkey growers receive.
The Thanksgiving Farmers’ Share can be viewed and downloaded here (PDF):
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National Farmers Union advocates on behalf of nearly 200,000 American farm families and their communities. We envision a world in which farm families and their communities are respected, valued, and enjoy economic prosperity and social justice.
Learn more about us at NFU.org.
Farm Bureau Survey: Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Down 4%
Source: American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF)
November 19, 2020
Thanksgiving celebrations will look different for many Americans this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Gatherings are likely to be fewer and farther between, with social distancing and perhaps even remote family get-togethers. One tradition that continues this year is the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual cost survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table.
Farm Bureau’s 35th annual survey indicates the average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving feast for 10 remains affordable at $46.90 or less than $5.00 per person. This is a $2.01 decrease from last year’s average of $48.91.
“The average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is the lowest since 2010,” said AFBF Chief Economist Dr. John Newton. “Pricing whole turkeys as ‘loss leaders’ to entice shoppers and move product is a strategy we’re seeing retailers use that’s increasingly common the closer we get to the holiday,” he explained.
The centerpiece on most Thanksgiving tables – the turkey – costs less than last year, at $19.39 for a 16-pound bird. That’s roughly $1.21 per pound, down 7% from last year. The survey results show that retail turkey prices are the lowest since 2010.
The shopping list for Farm Bureau’s informal survey includes turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with plenty for leftovers.
In addition to turkey, foods that showed slight price declines include whipping cream and sweet potatoes. Foods showing modest increases this year included dinner rolls, cubed bread stuffing and pumpkin pie mix. After adjusting for inflation, the cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is $18.01, down slightly from last year.
In recognition of changes in Thanksgiving dinner traditions, the Farm Bureau price survey also includes ham, potatoes and frozen green beans. Adding these foods to the classic Thanksgiving menu increased the overall cost by $13.21, to $60.11. This updated basket of foods also declined slightly in price (4%) compared to 2019.
Although it’s difficult to predict if panic purchasing will again become a concern due to the pandemic, “Turkeys – and other staples of the traditional Thanksgiving meal – are currently in ample supply at grocery stores in most areas of the country,” Newton said.
Farmers’ perseverance in continuing to produce food throughout the pandemic despite the challenges of volatile markets has been recognized by the public, according to recent AFBF public opinion research. Nearly nine in 10 adults (88%) trust farmers, a 4% increase from AFBF’s June 2020 polling. Further, the #StillFarming campaign tells the stories of farmers and ranchers still hard at work during the pandemic – and the challenges they are overcoming to feed America and the world.
This year’s national average cost was calculated using more than 230 surveys completed with pricing data from all 50 states. Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers were encouraged to check prices online using grocery store apps and websites due to the pandemic. They looked for the best possible prices without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals.
The AFBF Thanksgiving dinner survey was first conducted in 1986. The informal survey provides a record of comparative holiday meal costs over the years. Farm Bureau’s classic survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.
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