Labor gets the biggest share of every dollar Americans spend for food - 35 cents - while farmers get only 24 cents, a penny less than they did a year earlier, the Utah Farm Bureau said Friday.
Vic Saunders, UFB vice president for communications, said statistics compiled by the American Farm Bureau and announced this week - covering 1989, the latest year for which statistics are available - show labor costs have gone up a half cent from 1988."Packaging also increased a half cent, to 8.5 cents out of the food dollar," he said. "Depreciation claimed seven cents, intercity transportation and advertising each took 4.5 cents, and the remaining 16.5 cents paid for such items as taxes, insurance, repairs, interest, electricity and other smaller costs."
Saunders said there are big differences between farm and retail prices. "Last year, farmers earned only 4.8 cents from a one-pound loaf of bread while the average retail price was 61.3 cents. A dozen eggs brought a farmer 64.6 cents, but consumers paid $1 for them at a store.
"A half-gallon of milk had a farm value of 58.9 cents and a retail price of $1.27. Fresh California oranges returned 10.7 cents a pound to producers but cost consumers an average of 56.1 cents a pound."
He said meat producers earned $1.55 a pound for choice beef that consumers paid $2.70 cents a pound for. "Pork returned 70.4 cents a pound to the farm, but fetched $1.83 at the store. Broilers earned farmers 51.4 cents a pound and cost shoppers $92.7 cents."
A comparison between 1989 and 1988 shows consumers paid higher prices for chicken, eggs, potatoes, milk, tomatoes, bread and sugar last year than the year before. They paid less last year for apples, butter and bacon, Saunders said.