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Market food prices vs. what the farmer gets


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At least in my area, midcoast Maine, established small farmers are selling through farm stands, such as Beth's Farm Market, which is not far from me. It started out as a small operation selling sweet corn (usually the earliest corn available here) and over the years has grown to the point where they need three cash registers - and sometimes there are lines at all three.

Another, Spear Farm, is located in town on Route 1. For generations the Spears were a dairy farm, producing only milk that was trucked in bulk trucks to a processor. About fifteen or twenty years ago Bob Spear could see the writing on the wall for small (100 cow) dairies and began growing vegetables, starting with sweet corn. They now supply local Hannaford's supermarkets with corn and other vegetables, as well as having two farm stands.

This is one direction successful small farmers are going. Others are focused on supplying local supermarkets and restaurants.

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He said farm gate prices — wholesale prices for farm products, excluding transportation — were the lowest he had ever seen. ”Metal prices are high, so we’re paying higher prices for farm equipment — like $200,000 for a tractor,” he said. “And the price of food in supermarkets is higher than it’s ever been. So, farmers are hanging on by their fingertips, and consumers are paying through the nose.”

“The money that gets made in between,” he continued, “is going to companies, and the government isn’t doing anything about it. We have fifth- and sixth-generation farmers up where I live being pushed out of business, when all they want to do is grow good food.

When you grow commodity crops, you've got to expect commodity prices.

IMHO, Mr. Gerritsen needs a paradigm shift. Instead of playing the commodity game and investing in things that rust, rot and depreciate (the $200,000 tractor.) Mr. Gerritsen should seek to, as much as possible, only invest in things that reproduce and turn the suns energy into dollars while also developing markets selling directly where he sets a fair price for his products, but most of all, stop whining and blaming others!!!

YOU must be the change you wish to see in this world!

:smile:

~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

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When you grow commodity crops, you've got to expect commodity prices.

IMHO, Mr. Gerritsen needs a paradigm shift. Instead of playing the commodity game and investing in things that rust, rot and depreciate (the $200,000 tractor.) Mr. Gerritsen should seek to, as much as possible, only invest in things that reproduce and turn the suns energy into dollars while also developing markets selling directly where he sets a fair price for his products, but most of all, stop whining and blaming others!!!

YOU must be the change you wish to see in this world!

:smile:

I think it's safe to say Jim Gerritsen doesn't need a paradigm shift, and has some idea of what he's doing and talking about.

What sort of farming do you do?

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When you grow commodity crops, you've got to expect commodity prices.

IMHO, Mr. Gerritsen needs a paradigm shift. Instead of playing the commodity game and investing in things that rust, rot and depreciate (the $200,000 tractor.) Mr. Gerritsen should seek to, as much as possible, only invest in things that reproduce and turn the suns energy into dollars while also developing markets selling directly where he sets a fair price for his products, but most of all, stop whining and blaming others!!!

YOU must be the change you wish to see in this world!

:smile:

I think it's safe to say Jim Gerritsen doesn't need a paradigm shift, and has some idea of what he's doing and talking about.

What sort of farming do you do?

I don't doubt that he knows what he's talking about.

Commodity farming sucks...been there, done that!

It wasn't until after I underwent a paradigm shift that I started getting fair prices for my products and farming in a truly sustainable way.

Too each his own!

I'm an organic grower of vegetables, meats and eggs (and a few other products) who markets directly.

Edited by DiggingDogFarm (log)

~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

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I'm an organic grower of vegetables, meats and eggs (and a few other products) who markets directly.

The key words are:

Market directly.

I'm not a farmer, but I produce artisan chocolates. Words to live by, market directly.

I could use a distributer, he will charge 30%-40% to "handle" my line. The retailer needs to add ontop of that at least 35% markup. It would be suicidial to go that route, because with all that mark-up, the packaging would not reflect the price. I use the best possible quality ingredients, but if I change my packaging, it would cost almost twice as much as the ingredient cost.

The ones who survive and flourish are the ones who do their own marketing......

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When you grow commodity crops, you've got to expect commodity prices.

IMHO, Mr. Gerritsen needs a paradigm shift. Instead of playing the commodity game and investing in things that rust, rot and depreciate (the $200,000 tractor.) Mr. Gerritsen should seek to, as much as possible, only invest in things that reproduce and turn the suns energy into dollars while also developing markets selling directly where he sets a fair price for his products, but most of all, stop whining and blaming others!!!

YOU must be the change you wish to see in this world!

:smile:

I think it's safe to say Jim Gerritsen doesn't need a paradigm shift, and has some idea of what he's doing and talking about.

What sort of farming do you do?

I don't doubt that he knows what he's talking about.

Commodity farming sucks...been there, done that!

It wasn't until after I underwent a paradigm shift that I started getting fair prices for my products and farming in a truly sustainable way.

Too each his own!

I'm an organic grower of vegetables, meats and eggs (and a few other products) who markets directly.

Gerritsen isn't a commodity farmer, but farms in up in Aroostook County where there isn't much opportunity for local direct marketing. Aroostook is a long way from anywhere and is mainly (commodity) potato growing.

I believe his main crop is organic seed potatoes, and he's president of the Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association. He and his family own Wood Prarie Farm and while I don't think he's bought any $200,000 tractors, his operation is big enough to need tractors and all the equipment that goes with an operation like his. Here's a kind of funky YouTube video of his

But, getting back to the point of my original post, ways need to be found to keep small farmers in business, whether they're organic or not. They care about what they grow and they grow food that's a lot better tasting, and probably healthier, than most of what's available in most supermarkets.

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