Higher grocery costs don’t mean higher pay for farmers

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – Inflation continues to hurt most of our portfolios. Just about everything is more expensive these days, including the groceries we buy at the store.

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

“Farmers are generally price takers, not price makers, so the type of market determines what they will receive for their product,” said Mitt Walker, director of government and agricultural programs at the Alabama Federation of Farmers.

He adds that unfortunately the farmers do not have a high percentage of the cost of the store.

According to Walker, when you look at the percentage the farmer receives, it’s about 10% or less of the retail value of that product.

“There are a lot of things that go into getting their produce to the grocery store, from transportation to packaging to processing and all of those costs are built in,” he said.

As consumers pay more, Walker adds, farmers also have to keep food on the shelves.

“When you couple higher fertilizer costs with diesel fuel that’s $5 a gallon at the time of year they have tractors in the field, they’re going to put a lot more money into producing that culture than before,” Walker said.

Yet he adds that they are dedicated to growing food so you can feed your family.

“Our farmers here in Alabama — they’re really committed to making sure they’re doing everything they can to make sure we have a plentiful and safe food supply,” Walker said. “As we go through this agricultural campaign, we really have to hope and pray for good weather, good production so that they have a chance to make a profit at the end of the year.”

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

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