Thursday, May 1, 2008

My Husband Did Not Cause Inflated Food Prices

As you may know, my husband is a farmer. Not livestock - cash crop. In the good ol' days, he would be known as a "dirt" farmer. He works alongside God growing crops - for people and for animals.

Today, there was talk on the news about the rising food prices. Someone in Congress blamed it on the fact that 25% of corn is now being sold for ethenol instead of for food.

A few weeks ago, our friendly neighborhood supermarket (which also has stores in several northeastern states) put up a small sign in their store-made bread department. I won't quote it word for word but it stated that, although they had been doing everything to keep their bread prices down, they finally had to raise prices because the cost of flour had gone up. If they had stopped there, we would have been fine. But, they continued to say that the reason flour costs had gone up was because the nasty farmer down the road had turned much of his wheat ground into corn in order to sell to the ethenol plant.

OK, so they didn't say "nasty farmer". Nor did they say that the farmer planned to use all that big money he was now making to retire and smoke cigars on the porch of his enormous plantation while everyone else starved for lack of wheat.

But, that's the impression it gave.

My local supermarket had an unfortunate misplacement of their little "blame the farmer" sign. Hmmm....

Oh, and by the way - I went to another locally owned, smaller supermarket and bought their much better store-baked bread for a lot less money.

ANYWAY. Here's the real scoop. My husband grows wheat. He grows corn. He sells to the ethenol plant. He has not changed wheat ground for corn. The corn used for ethenol is not the delicious summer-time sweet corn. It's corn used to feed cattle. And, guess what. The ethenol plant that we sell to, uses what it can from the corn for fuel. Then, it takes the rest and sells it to the cattle farmer for feed.

The corn is just taking a detour.

Wheat prices HAVE gone up. Is ethenol the reason? No. It's a reason. One of many. There were droughts all over the world last year resulting in huge losses of wheat crops. Not everyone has wheat to sell. Not because they're growing corn, but because the wheat wouldn't grow. Fuel costs have gone up. The transportation of the wheat is not cheap - nor is the fuel for the tractors and combines.

Half of people think farmers are filthy rich. Normally, they're just filthy. The other half think they're poor and some think he ought to stay that way. The farmer would like to feed his family.

Have you driven by the supermarket owner's house? Have you seen the farmer's house? Have you looked at his calloused hands and dirty coveralls while Mr. Supermarket Owner walks around in impressive suits and has his picture taken on a tractor for the latest "Menu" magazine trying to look like the farmer he's blaming for his skyrocketing bread prices? I have no problem with this hardworking gentleman making his money in his honest way. I do have a problem with his store blaming my husband for making money by taking food away from innocent people.

Attack the farmer and you attack my husband. Attack my husband and my claws come out.

Happy shopping.

13 comments:

Tracy said...

Great post!

elianna said...

You are so right! It's easy for people to get all upset over things they don't really understand-you know, they want SOMEONE to blame! Thanks for the little economics lesson! :)
(and...OUR supermarket hasn't put any sign up yet-BUT out here the biggest (and possibly most controversial!) landmark in town is our ethanol plant. Which just gives me a feeling that THEIR sign will skip the farmer and lay all the blame on WNYEnergy.) :) We like our farmers!

heather said...

I will look for the sign in the "W" I shop at & if I see it I will definately take it to the customer service desk. They should just leave it at that the prices have gone up, and if they then choose to put the blame on someone, well then they need to list every where that the prices have increased. Thanks for the info & you go girl!!

Mrs. Vicky Smith said...

Just wanted to tell you that I will be praying for your son's surgery to go well.

I grew up on a 250 acre farm with 5 siblings. We had all that we needed but Daddy worked from daylight to dark most days and even had a second job for many years. Land was less expensive back then but he worked for years to pay for it. It was definitly a working dirt farm. My three older brothers worked anytime that they were not in school and we three girls helped Mama with meals, clothes and cleaning. Hmmmm...a lot of hours...it took all of us working. Yes, we had all that we needed and when my daddy died he left an inheritance to his children but he never got rich and he never took advantage of others. The farmer is NOT to blame!

JulieMom said...

Way to go Wife!!

I, too, raise a talon in defense!!

becky said...

If is the store I think you are talking about I am gonna have to make a couple of calls about that one! I am serious on this. For a company that "supports" it's local farmers that is a huge contradiction. Most likely it had to be an ingnorant person who wrote it and quite frankly people should make a stink about it. I am wondering if upper management knows about this.

Ginger said...

Hmm me thinks I am gonna shop at another store... It best not be the Chinamart store..... I am so ready to never shop there. But its cheap. Hmm is it the other W store in the area.... I buy my wheat berries and make my own, I'd more then happy to make some for you vickie!

Carolee's Corner Canary Islands said...

Farmers deserve every hard earned penny they work for--and they definitely aren't getting rich. If you calculated what they get paid for every hour they put in, it would be very interesting. Most wouldn't work as a farmer, (they couldn't handle it. Where would we be without them--praise the Lord for their hard, backbreaking work. If I saw that sign in a store, I would definitely let the management know I didn't appreciate it.

the reynolds said...

Interesting topic. I am a dairy farmers wife. I hear the price of milk in the store is high. I wouldn't know because we just go to the barn and dip it out of our tank! Here's some stats for you - and MORE contraversy.....you are paying more for milk, we are paying more for feed. The corn that we used to buy for $100/ton is now $220, the soybean meal that was $180 - $200 is now $400, the hay that was $150 is now $300. Notice these prices have doubled? Our price for milk has not. It has come up which is good for us, or YOU may not have milk unless you have your own cow! We cannot continue to produce a "crop" with soaring input costs, and yet the farmer doesn't get what he needs to meet the production costs. We praise the Lord for the strong milk prices. However, we too have been told it's because of ethanol. Corn once grown for cattle (ours) now goes to the ethanol plant. Yes it is recycled, but for many of us, it comes back in a not readily usable form. Long story. So corn is in short supply for us and it is a main ingredient in our ration. I wonder - is the ethanol "problem" a Gov. smokescreen?? Vicki - don't be offended - this is the life of a dairy farmer! We'll always love (and defend) McCracken Acres!!

Christina J. Ford said...

lol all the libs are crazy, don't even give them the time of day:)

Victoria said...

Thank you all so much for your support of farmers!!!!! I love people who love farmers!

Gail -
No offense taken. All types of farmers are taking a hit. We're making more money in some areas, but spending more in others. I have the HIGHEST regard for dairy farmers. Especially Christian dairy farmers with large families!:)

Mrs. Butler said...

Thank you for posting this! I love buying local and supporting farmers who work SO hard - even if it costs me a bit more. Kudos for the sign misplacement and taking your business elsewhere :)

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