By HDN Staff
More than 1,000 American farmers and ranchers are rallying in Washington, D.C. this week protesting the low commodity prices they receive when they ship their calves off or haul their grains to market.
The numbers regarding producers' income don't lie farm income dropped from $53 billion in 1996 to $48 billion in 1999. Producers and lawmakers have been arguing over whether the decline was cyclical changes instead of change in federal farm policy.
No matter which side is right about the decline in agriculture income, the bottom line is producers have been bearing a huge financial burden to keep the world fed. The lost revenue is felt on Main Street, U.S.A., and across the nation.
Producers, including several farmers and ranchers from Montana, provided a free lunch to people Monday in the nation's Capitol. The lunch cost $8 to prepare and the producers' take was 39 cents.
The menu consisted of sliced charcoal cooked top round beef (farmers' share is 27 cents), bun (1 cent), baked beans (4 cents), red potato salad (1 cent), cole slaw (2 cents), milk (3 cents), and a cookie (1 cent).
The numbers don't lie. American producers aren't seeing a healthy return on their investment in a risky business.
This is national agriculture appreciation week a time to reflect on the healthy food we consume daily and a time to think about the hard working men and women growing and raising our nutrition.
Thank agriculture producers when you see them. After all, they provide nourishment for the world.