Start clipping coupons: Farm Bureau report says dollar not going very far

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WASHINGTON – Retail food prices at the supermarket increased slightly in the second quarter of 2007, according to the latest American Farm Bureau Federation Marketbasket Survey.
The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 basic grocery items in the second quarter of 2007 was $42.95, up about 4 percent or $1.61 from the first quarter of 2007.
Of the 16 items surveyed, 14 increased, one decreased and one stayed the same in average price compared to the 2007 first-quarter survey.
Compared to one year ago, the overall cost for the marketbasket items showed an increase of about 8 percent.
Whole milk. Regular whole milk showed the largest quarter-to-quarter price increase, up 34 cents to $3.46 per gallon. Sirloin tip roast increased 27 cents to $3.99 per pound; pork chops increased 22 cents to $3.63 per pound; ground chuck increased 20 cents per pound to $2.85.
Other items that increased in price: whole fryers, up 17 cents to $1.28 per pound; apples, up 15 cents to $1.45 per pound; vegetable oil and bread, both up 9 cents to $2.66 for a 32-ounce bottle and $1.58 for a 20-ounce loaf, respectively; mayonnaise, up 8 cents to $3.43 for a 32-ounce jar; and regular eggs, up 5 cents to $1.56 per dozen.
Volunteer shoppers recorded nominal price increases for: cheddar cheese, up 3 cents to $3.72 per pound; flour, up 2 cents to $1.92 for a 5-pound bag; toasted oat cereal and corn oil, up 1 cent each to $2.86 for a 10-ounce box and $2.78 for a 32-ounce bottle, respectively.
Russet potatoes dropped 12 cents to $2.34 for a 5-pound bag. Bacon stayed the same at $3.44 per pound.
Stretched. “Consumers have no doubt noticed their food dollar stretched a little tighter lately,” said American Farm Bureau Federation economist Jim Sartwelle.
As energy costs have increased, he explaind, it has become more expensive to process, package and transport food items for retail sale.
“In addition, soaring demand overseas for U.S. dairy and meat products has reduced quantities available at home, resulting in retail price increases at the grocery store.”
As retail grocery prices have gradually increased, the share of the average food dollar that America’s farm and ranch families receive has dropped over time.
What’s left. “In the mid-1970s, farmers received about one-third of consumer retail food expenditures on average.
That figure has decreased steadily over time and is now just 22 percent, according to Agriculture Department statistics,” Sartwelle said.
Using that percentage across the board, the farmer’s share of this quarter’s $42.95 marketbasket total would be $9.45.

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