Farmers, ranchers don’t earn as much as consumers think

Despite the high cost of running a ranch or farm, owners only earn 16 cents from what they sell...
Despite the high cost of running a ranch or farm, owners only earn 16 cents from what they sell in grocery stores.(KOTA/KEVN)
Published: Aug. 23, 2022 at 7:11 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - According to the latest Census of Agriculture, South Dakota’s farmers and ranchers sold more than $10 billion worth of agricultural products in 2017. But how much of that money went back into the farmers and ranchers pockets?

Think back to that burger or chicken that you bought in the grocery store. Of the price you paid, only 16 cents went back to the farmers and ranchers who helped put it on your table. That’s called the farm share.

“Now there is a lot of cost in every step of the chain all along the way, so everybody takes their cut out of it. Till you actually break down the numbers, it can appear that the rancher is getting a lot for that meat but the ranchers not the one who gets the largest portion of it through the chain of events,” said Ron Adam, a cattle rancher from Sturgis.

The rest of the money, or the market share, went to various food-supply-chain industries such as packaging, transporting and processing.

Inflation has widened the gap between farm and market shares. While costs have increased at the grocery store, that does not mean that farmers and ranchers pocket more money.

“Sure, maybe you got a two dollar an hour pay increase but you’re paying $200 more a month for your gas bill to drive your car to work, your rent’s gone up astronomically. In the inflationary environment everything goes up but at the end of the day, there’s no more money left over in your pocketbook when all the bills are paid,” said Adam.

The farm share increased 1 cent from 2019 and that rise is the largest increase in nearly a decade.