Farmers Union hosts Farmer’s Share mealsNorth Dakota’s Farmers Union would like you to sit down and eat a spaghetti lunch with them and gain a deeper understanding of how commodity prices affect consumers and the farmer.
By: John Odermann, The Dickinson Press
DICKINSON - North Dakota’s Farmers Union would like you to sit down and eat a spaghetti lunch with them and gain a deeper understanding of how commodity prices affect consumers and the farmer.
In an effort to better educate the public on just who’s pocket their food dollars end up in, the Farmers Union is hosting Farmer’s Share meals throughout the state on Wednesday, March 19.
The cost? One dollar, for a meal consisting of spaghetti and meat sauce, corn, garlic bread and ice cream.
“The reason we’re doing this is we’re showing what the farmer’s share of that meal would be,” Stark County Farmers Union President Bob Kuylen said. “We just wanted people who live in town to know how much of a share a farmer gets.”
North Dakota’s Farmers Union has been holding Farmer’s Share meals for about 10 years, but this is the first time it has been coordinated to take place on one day throughout the state.
Organization President Robert Carlson said the meals are a great educational tool.
“Today’s high crop prices are being blamed for the rise in food costs,” Carlson said. “One myth is that the demand for renewable fuels has caused high corn prices, which in turn has led to higher food prices.”
Carlson said it is important that these events take place so they can further dispel the myths surrounding the existing high commodity prices.
Numbers provided by Carlson show farmers today earn just 20 cents of every $1 spent on food in the U.S.
Non-farm related costs, such as marketing, wholesale distribution and retail costs account for the other 80 cents of every $1 spent on food in the country.
Contrast this with the share in 1952, which was 47 cents of every $1 going to the farmer.
“These are important to have, especially this year,” Carlson said of the meal events. “There is a real need for it because of all the national press attention in regards to the price of food.”
The Farmer’s Share meals take place at the following places from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesday: Alaska Cafe in Lemmon, S.D., Buckskin Cafe in Killdeer, Eagles Club in Dickinson, Trappers Kettle in Belfield, the Knights of Columbus Hall in Mott and Jabbers & Big J Restaurant in Bowman.
Information about the status of farming in the state and the nation also is available at each location.
“High energy costs, inflation, world markets and stock inventories are driving today’s food costs, not the prices farmers receive for their crops,” Carlson said.
Kuylen encourages everyone to attend a meal in the area, even if you’re not necessarily interested in agriculture.
“It’s just a good way to educate people,” Kuylen said. “Plus, you can get diner for a $1; you can’t do that anywhere else.”
For a full list of meal sites go to www.ndfu.org and click on “upcoming events.”