Hang on folks, we’re in for a rocky ride
I get steamed when I hear those corporate record profits are outpacing the farmer’s share of food prices. When inflation first started creeping up my worst fear was that food prices would remain at high levels even after inflation leveled off.
It seems whenever there is good news in crop production and farm prices are low, food prices stay the same. But when there are production problems and shortages cause farm product prices to rise, food prices shoot up immediately
I believe that food prices are also impacted by high transportation and employee pay, but if they are making record profits there is something amiss.
Here are the National Farmers Union 2022 Thanksgiving Farmer’s Share numbers:
· Turkey: Retail Price – $1.99/pound, Farmer’s Share – $0.06/pound
· Sweet Corn, 16oz frozen: Retail Price – $2.59, Farmer’s Share – $0.44
· Stuffing, 12oz box: Retail Price – $3.59, Farmer’s Share – $0.13
· Boneless Ham, 2lb: Retail Price – $12.98, Farmer’s Share – $1.00
· Mashed Potatoes, 5lb bag: Retail Price – $5.99, Farmer’s Share – $1.30
· Apple Pie Filling, 21oz can: Retail Price – $4.99, Farmer’s Share – $1.03
These numbers are compiled using U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service prices.
Now we have a potential merger of Kroger and Albertsons. From the news reports that I’ve read the $25 billion merger is expected to be devastating for shoppers and store workers. And of course, it will impact farmers and ranchers (see this week’s opinion piece starting on page 14).
Although the Biden administration can step in and stop the merger, that hasn’t been done in the past when huge companies merge.
To make matters worse the railroad workers are threatening to strike, which would be disastrous for U.S. consumers and businesses.
“Railroads haul about 40% of the nation’s freight each year. The railroads estimated that a rail strike would cost the economy $2 billion a day in a report issued earlier this fall. Another recent report put together by a chemical industry trade group projected that if a strike drags on for a month some 700,000 jobs would be lost as manufacturers who rely on railroads shut down, prices of nearly everything increase even more and the economy is potentially thrust into a recession,” according to an Associated Press article.
“And although some businesses would try to shift shipments over to trucks, there aren’t nearly enough of them available. The Association of American Railroads trade group estimated that 467,000 additional trucks a day would be needed to handle everything railroads deliver.”
Reminds me of the time the air traffic controllers decided to strike, and former President Ronald Reagan called the strike illegal and threatened to fire strikers, a threat he carried out. He also declared a lifetime ban on rehiring strikers by the Federal Aviation Administration.
President Biden would be wise to use this as an example of how to handle a potential strike especially one that would cripple much of the nation.