25 August, 2008 - Keep it in Perspective, Folks!

I am well aware that the price of food has escalated rather dramatically over the past two years; I am well aware that for many Americans, that does pinch the budget to the point where it hurts for some people, but not all of us. Because of that, you have heard me say, in answer to the critics of ethanol and soy diesel, that the main reason the cost of food has risen here and around the world is the sharply higher cost of oil that is used in the production, the processing and the transporting of the commodities from the farm, through the food chain and ultimately to our table.

So I certainly agree with a recent editorial in Hoard’s Dairyman Magazine entitled “Let’s Keep Food Prices in Perspective”. Let me share with you a few of the points made by the editorial writers at Hoard’s.....
-“Nine of ten Americans have access to a car.
-81% of us have a cell phone
-In 2005, Americans spent almost $760-billion dollars on recreation; almost as much as they spent on food. That included $86-billion dollars on video and audio products and $107-billion dollars on amusement parks and similar entertainment.
-Last year Americans purchased 68-million new television sets.”
-And this one quoted in the Hoard’s Dairymen editorial really hit my ‘hot button’....”we spent $12-billion dollars on bottled water”.

The Hoard’s editorial writer says “it’s numbers like these that make us shudder when we hear all the hoopla about higher food prices. The vast majority of Americans have a high standard of living because of low food prices, not in spite of them. The Consumer Price Index shows that the cost of food, both at home and away from home, has risen 8.8% over the past two years, and it’s a safe bet that a good part of the rise in food prices has been driven by energy-related costs, such as transportation, utilities and packaging. Two more thing to remember, most people in the U. S. spend less than 10% of their disposable income on food, far less than any other country; and producers receive only 20-cents of every dollar spent for food.”

I suggest you keep these numbers handy, so the next time you are challenged and blamed for being the main cause of higher food prices, you can return a positive response. Hoard’s Dairyman hit the nail on the head when it said “Let’s Keep Food Prices in Perspective”!

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