Next time someone jumps on farmers for getting rich while families get stuck buying $3.75 gallons of milk, tell them corn growers make about 16 cents (4 percent of the purchase price) for that gallon.
Then tell them labor and energy costs higher up the production chain account for nearly 60 percent ($2.18) of that price. The rest comes from a combination of other costs, like marketing and stocking at the store, equipment depreciation and plastics at the plant, not to mention a skyrocketing international demand for food and energy as East Asian countries develop sophisticated free-market economies.
Then tell them input costs for farmers, in some instances, are growing as fast or faster than its trading price, which happens to be at a near record high of $5.07 per bushel, though adjusted for inflation, it's not as high as it was in the late 1970s.
The complex interplay of market forces on the price of home-grown commodities, and the relatively small take for the average farmer, is a picture the Lee County Farm Bureau tried to paint, as it served up 50-cent meals at its Farmer's Cost Breakfast on Saturday morning at the Loveland Building in Dixon.