Higher grocery costs doesn’t equal higher pay for farmers

WBRC Higher cost doesn't equal higher farmer pay
Published: May. 28, 2022 at 8:07 PM CDT|Updated: May. 29, 2022 at 7:17 AM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Inflation continues hurting most of our wallets. Just about everything is more expensive these days, including groceries we purchase at the store.

Even though we are all paying more for produce, it doesn’t necessarily mean farmers are getting that extra cash.

“Farmers are typically price takers and not price makers so the market kind of determines what they’re going to receive for their product,” said Mitt Walker, the Director of Governmental and Agricultural Programs at the Alabama Farmers Federation.

He adds that unfortunately, farmers don’t have a high percentage of the store cost.

Walker says when you look at the percentage the farmer receives, it’s around 10% or less of the value of that product at retail level.

“There’s a lot that goes to getting their products to the grocery store from transportation to packaging to processing and all of those costs are built in,” he said.

While consumers are paying more, Walker adds so are farmers to keep food on shelves.

“When you couple higher fertilizer costs with diesel fuel that’s running $5 a gallon the time of year that they’ve got tractors in the field, they’re going to have a lot more money invested in producing this crop than they ever have before,” said Walker.

Still, he adds they’re dedicated to growing food so you can feed your family.

“Our farmers here in Alabama -- they are really committed to making sure that they do everything they can to make sure that we do have an abundant, safe food supply,” said Walker. “As we go through this crop year, we really need to hope and pray for good weather, good production so that they have a chance of making a profit at the end of the year.”

When you buy directly from a farmer, Walker says that puts more money in their pockets. So if you want to support your local economy and local farmers, he encourages you to buy local.

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