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Shelf Sticker Shock: Inflation Driving Food Costs

March 13, 2008

Jamestown, ND – If you've been to the grocery store lately, it's no surprise that you're paying a lot more for what you buy these days. The message from a local agriculture group is that people shouldn't blame today's crop and livestock producers for the price hikes. Robert Carlson, president of the North Dakota Farmers Union, says sky-high energy costs and inflation are the real culprits.

"It's the cost of distribution, transportation, retailing, advertising - all of these are greater than the share that the farmer receives."

To drive the point home, Carlson says Farmers Union groups across the state are planning a "Farmer's Share Day" on March 19.

"We'll be selling it for a dollar a meal, which is about the farmer's share of the spaghetti and meatballs, corn, ice cream, coffee, milk and so forth, that will be served."

Carlson says there are plenty of urban myths about high food costs; that farmers are "getting rich" on $12-a-bushel wheat, or that growing crops to meet the demand for renewable fuels is to blame for higher food prices. He counters by explaining that most farmers already sold their crops before prices went up, and that oil prices have twice the impact on food costs as do corn prices.

"Farmer's Share Day" is more than a decent meal at a bargain price, he adds - it's a chance to learn more about the people who produce the nation's food. For a full listing of meal sites statewide, check the North Dakota Farmers Union Web site, at www.ndfu.org.

Dick Layman/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - ND