Real Farmers, Real Food
By Kim L. Fritzemeier
KFRM Central Kansas Reporter
Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line
"In every part of the world, we're going to face the issues of feeding more people on less land with fewer resources."She cited estimates that, by 2050, worldwide population will increase by 50 percent and we'll need 70 percent more food to support the people.
Just this weekend, I heard the population of the world topped 7 billion. We can't feed all those people solely with teams of horses and mules. It can't be done.
In 1977, it took five animals to produce the same number of pounds of beef that it takes four animals to produce today. Capper says the efficiency gains from 1977 to 2010 amount to a 19 percent point reduction in feed use, a 12-point decrease in water needed and a 33-point drop in land required per pounds of beef.
While our industry may not be perfect, American agriculture has shown a commitment to continuous improvement- be it for food safety, animal well-being, or environmental stewardship.
I clipped an article out of my regional newspaper last week. The headline was:
"Consumers paid more for food, gas last month."
When you read beyond the headline, the article says: "Food prices rose 0.4 percent in September, pushed up by big increases in the dairy, cereals, and fruits and vegetables categories. Gas prices rose 2.9 percent."
Nobody likes it when prices go up. I don't know many farmers who are raising everything they need for their own family's tables right on their own farms. We shop at the grocery stores, too. I don't like it when gas prices go up. I don't like it that it costs $300,000-plus to buy a new tractor (That's why we don't buy new. Used is expensive enough!)
But the truth is that U.S. citizens spend the lowest percentage of their disposable income on food.
And lest you think farmers are lining their pockets with all the extra dough we get from the 0.4 percent increase in food prices last month, here's another graphic about how the food dollar is divvied up.
What it boils down to is that the farmer is getting about 19 cents of every retail dollar spent on food. Off-farm costs (marketing expenses, processing, wholesaling, distributing and retailing of food products) accounts for 81 cents of every retail dollar spent on food.
In 1980, farmers received 31 cents out of every retail dollar spent on food in America. (Remember, today it's 19 cents!) Today, each U.S. farmer provides food and fiber for 155 people in the U.S. and abroad. In 1980, when we were getting 31 cents out of each dollar, we were only providing food and fiber for 115 people. How's that for efficiency?
Want to learn more? Check out Real Farmers, Real Food. One section dispels myths about food production. You can even hear a message from our current Miss America Teresa Scalan about the importance of agriculture.
As she says, "Not everyone farms, but everyone has to eat."
So, Happy Food Day! I'll be the one out on the 4-wheeler hoping that the heifers cooperate this time.
Respond to this Entry
Monday 24th of October 2011 09:21:49 PM
Submitted by: anonymous
Monday 24th of October 2011 09:22:58 PM
Submitted by: Bob
Tuesday 25th of October 2011 07:01:38 AM
Submitted by: Kim
Thanks, Bob, for taking time to comment!