Saturday, January 28, 2012

Farmer's Share

I went to a Farmer's Share breakfast this morning where breakfast is served for the cost of what the farmer gets from the production of the raw products in the meal. This is usually sponsored by a Farm Bureau group in our state and it was this morning, too, the Clermont County Farm Bureau.

Pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs, milk, juice and coffee cost 50 cents. That is about what the farmer get's as his share from the sales of farm produced commodities that are shipped, processed and prepared for our meals.

They had little paper towers of information about farming in Ohio. Ohio has 4 million hogs raised by 3700 farmers. We are number two in egg production and in the top ten states of just about every category of grain and livestock production. Ohio has always been a prominent farming state although the message has been lost over my lifetime.

There are about 45,000 farming operations in Ohio producing about nine million acres of grain and other crops. Ohio almost always has more acres planted to soybeans than to corn. The last time there were more corn acres than soybeans was 1986. The last time Ohio had over a million acres of wheat was just 2008 and there were still 3 times more corn or soybean acres than wheat.

Acres of oats, grapes, potatoes, and tobacco continue to decline over time. Other states have more suitable weather and soils for those crops except tobacco which has declined from health concerns. US production of tobacco has declined form 2 billion pounds in 1975 to 1.2 billion pounds in 2001, or 42%. Ohio reflects that, too.

Ohio is 11th in the number of farms so that goes with it being in the top ten states in production of most agricultural commodities.

Agriculture is still the backbone of Ohio's and the country's economies which makes farming activities very important but one that is easy to take for granted.

What would my 50 cent breakfast cost in your neighborhood? Here it would be $5-10 plus tax and tip.



  1. Most people have no idea where the costs come in for things. It's the same story with timberland owners and those who selling mineral rights on their land. The REAL (and usually guaranteed) profit doesn't come until after the product leaves the land where it was produced.

  2. Its true food is priced well below the cost of production. But maybe we are not paying the full price of inputs on our end either. Electricty is subsidized to the point that we do not pay the "real price" from what I have read. Our farm fuel is tax exempt too. Our govt. crop insurance is subsidized too. There are probably a few other items I have forgotten. Its a complicated system.

  3. About $7.50 for a good breakfast at the local cafe here. Of course you have to pay for the waitress and cook and the building but if you make your own you can still eat pretty cheap. My wife sells eggs for $2.50/doz. so 2 eggs is just over 40¢ and the farmers wife got all of that. We buy pork from a neighbor so the farmer and the butcher share that. Farmers still pay retail for everything and sell at really below wholesale at the mercy of those who make the markets unless you sell direct to the public.

  4. I came over to visit from Gorges. I grew up in northwest Ohio and can say that many don't appreciate the cost/profit of things.

    Living in NM scraping a farm together has been a true eye opener. We do not raise for commercial use, but to sustain ourselves and I have had to cease breaking down my hourly wage for something-as that is detrimental.

    Of course almost everything will grow in Ohio- here farming is all about water preservation and use.

    Have a lovely day.