Farmers and consumers continue to battle soaring costs, as lawmakers turn their attention this week to concentration in the meatpacking industry. House and Senate Ag lawmakers are holding hearings on legislation to help boost profits for independent cattle producers and reduce prices for consumers. But industry concentration among just a handful of packers is only part of a bigger food inflation problem. Ranking Senate Ag Republican John Boozman said it starts on the farm.


“Farm machinery represents a 28% increase, more than a significant increase.  We’re talking about animal feed, it’s up 36%, natural gas, up 48%, diesel fuel, up 54%, and then, fertilizer, up 171%.”

And that, he pointed out, was one year through February, before the war in Ukraine fueled further price pressure on top of that by the pandemic. Boozman called soaring food costs, “a national emergency”.

“When costs go up on our farmers and ranchers, it’s a bad day for rural America, and it’s a bad day for everyone who works so hard to purchase the food that they need, to put it on their table, and in essence, everyone loses.”

According to the latest government figures, annual food inflation jumped 8.8% last month, the biggest jump since 1981.

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