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Corn Growers Comment on Farm Bureau's Food Price Report
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 07/14/2008

Soaring fuel, labor and marketing costs continue to have a significantly higher impact on consumers' grocery bills than the price of corn from the farm. That's the reaction from Randy Woodruff, who is president of the Wisconsin Corn Growers Association, after reviewing last week's quarterly Market Basket survey released by the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation.

The report noted a 31 percent increase in corn oil, but also noted that corn oil is reliant on many energy-intensive processes for production and that most food items are being impacted by higher energy prices. But Woodruff says several recent studies cite rapidly rising energy costs a chief factor is higher food prices.

"Farm products such as corn remain a relatively small part of the food bill," Woodruff stated. "Even with corn prices rising 50 percent--from $4 in 2007 to about $6 today--that only changes the price per pound by about one dime. A box of corn flakes, for instance, contains 8 cents worth of corn and even a gallon of milk takes only about 14-cents of corn to produce. So many other factors contribute to retail food prices, things such as fuel for transportation, labor, packaging, advertising and profits that corn, in comparison, is still an inexpensive food ingredient."

The WCGA says a recent USDA report indicates that farmers actually receive less than 19-cents of any dollar consumers spend on food and over the years, food prices have followed or slightly trailed overall inflation. They agency also notes that Americans spend just 10 percent of their disposable income on food expenses, while households in places overseas spend up to 50 percent of their budgets on food. Even in many European countries, people spend twice what U.S. consumers spend on food.

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