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View Full Version : Why are fruit and veg not so cheap compared to meats?



Noir
05-08-2012, 01:25 PM
It has to be said if there's one thing 'against' the vegan lifestyle its cheap mass-produced flesh. You can feed a family with a bucket from KFC (and while not advised) its certainly a common occournce, and one thats much cheaper than buying and making your own meat free meals.

Though i personally think most meats at markets (red meat especially) and dairy (cheese and eggs especially) are remarkably expensive for what you get.

But when you look at it, even in passing, something seems wrong, how can meats be competing (and in cases undercutting) costs of fruit and veg? Meats have a lot more work involved, more land needed, more time taken, more water and feed needed, more transport costs, less of a shelf life and so on, the answer is...the government, or rather the tax-payer, or rather, your money.

The Dairy and Meat industries get *huge* subsities from the State to keep them competitive, and the numbers are huge, billions of dollars every year to make sure the meat and dairy industries can survive.

But surly other food industries get this too? Well yes, to a lesser extent, behind the meat and dairy industry come the grains, they get a considerable second slice of the pie, though of course many of those grains will be turned onto feed for the animals in the meat and dairy industry...and what of Fruit and Veg? Combined they get less that one percent of the pie.

Grapical representation of the subsidy pie, last year.

http://i45.tinypic.com/16i7wo.png

Now, lets image for a minute that the government didn't spend your money supporting an industry that can't support itself. Or even, if it just cut say 10% from the meat and dairys and put that into fruit and veg...the world of a difference, no?

Little-Acorn
05-08-2012, 02:47 PM
For years now, people have been worried about the unintended consequences of huge government subsidies for those who grow various grains, corn etc. for conversion to ethanol as fuel. A significant fraction of the nation's crops have been diverted to this, and away from the food market.

As a result, the supply of these crops for food has fallen markedly, while the demand hasn't gone down at all. If anything, demand has increased.

Supply and Demand is one of the most fundamental forces in any market, despite what our big-government advocates think of their supposed ability to avoid its effects. When you see food prices going up - whether the price of grain, or the price of beef from cattle fed by those grains - you won't go far wrong if you assume government is at the root of it.

darin
05-08-2012, 02:54 PM
The problem is a human behavior problem. For the same reason people will spend $40,000 on a car that gets 20mpg MORE than their current car, they will buy tax-supported meat products.

Take money from people's pay, BEFORE they get paid, use that money to pay for part of their food, and the people will think they are ONLY paying what they are charged at the grocery.

The car example: one can buy a LOT of gas for 40,000. But, people will DO that because they feel less immediate pain at the point of purchase.


Want to fix our gross gov't spending? Remove automatic deductions from payrolls. As-is, our pay is our "NET" - few people consider their 'gross pay' the money they ACTUALLY earned. Make people actually write a check out of their gross pay for all our programs. Then we'll feel the pain and complain.

Little-Acorn
05-08-2012, 03:05 PM
Make people actually write a check out of their gross pay for all our programs. Then we'll feel the pain and complain.

Especially if the check is due the day before Election Day.

As you say, we should be required to write that check out of our gross pay, every time we get a paycheck. But those amounts will be estimates, just as the withholding amounts are today. Nowadays we must calculate the total amount and send in a check for the balance due, on April 15. With the method you propose (writing a check out of each gross paycheck), that balance-due date should be changed to the day before Election Day, each year.

This will help politicians get serious about genuine spending cuts (not the "reductions in the rate of increase" they keep faking us out with today).

MtnBiker
05-08-2012, 04:25 PM
It has to be said if there's one thing 'against' the vegan lifestyle its cheap mass-produced flesh. You can feed a family with a bucket from KFC (and while not advised) its certainly a common occournce, and one thats much cheaper than buying and making your own meat free meals.

Though i personally think most meats at markets (red meat especially) and dairy (cheese and eggs especially) are remarkably expensive for what you get.

But when you look at it, even in passing, something seems wrong, how can meats be competing (and in cases undercutting) costs of fruit and veg? Meats have a lot more work involved, more land needed, more time taken, more water and feed needed, more transport costs, less of a shelf life and so on, the answer is...the government, or rather the tax-payer, or rather, your money.

The Dairy and Meat industries get *huge* subsities from the State to keep them competitive, and the numbers are huge, billions of dollars every year to make sure the meat and dairy industries can survive.

But surly other food industries get this too? Well yes, to a lesser extent, behind the meat and dairy industry come the grains, they get a considerable second slice of the pie, though of course many of those grains will be turned onto feed for the animals in the meat and dairy industry...and what of Fruit and Veg? Combined they get less that one percent of the pie.

Grapical representation of the subsidy pie, last year.

http://i45.tinypic.com/16i7wo.png

Now, lets image for a minute that the government didn't spend your money supporting an industry that can't support itself. Or even, if it just cut say 10% from the meat and dairys and put that into fruit and veg...the world of a difference, no?


Is there a source for that graph?

Noir
05-08-2012, 04:43 PM
Is there a source for that graph?

I got it from the PCRM.

http://www.pcrm.org/search/?cid=2586#.T6lSfuugUv4.facebook

MtnBiker
05-08-2012, 04:47 PM
I got it from the PCRM.

http://www.pcrm.org/search/?cid=2586#.T6lSfuugUv4.facebook


Honestly, that is rather vague information. The pcrm does not source it's own graph, there is no telling how they came up with their graph to promote their agenda.

Also a subsidy does not always equate to the government "spending" money. A so called subsidy can also be depreciation on capital. Something that is available to most businesses in the tax code.

Noir
05-08-2012, 04:59 PM
Honestly, that is rather vague information. The pcrm does not source it's own graph, there is no telling how they came up with their graph to promote their agenda.

Also a subsidy does not always equate to the government "spending" money. A so called subsidy can also be depreciation on capital. Something that is available to most businesses in the tax code.

Top hit on google with the words 'USA subsidise meat dairy'


Of the roughly $200 billion spent to subsidize U.S. commodity crops from 1995 to 2010 (commodity crops are interchangeable, storable foods such as grains and certain beans, and cotton), roughly two-thirds went to animal-feed crops, tobacco and cotton. Roughly $50 billion went to human-food crops, including wheat, peanuts, rice, oil seeds and other crops that become sweeteners, according to a database compiled by the Environmental Working Group (http://farm.ewg.org/region?fips=00000&regname=UnitedStatesFarmSubsidySummary), an advocacy group. About $12 billion went to crops that were turned into ethanol, a use that is consuming a growing share of the harvest.
Farmers who grow fruits, vegetables and tree nuts, on the other hand, receive no regular direct subsidies, though there are some small programs that aid apple farmers and other growers. The government sometimes buys excess canned produce (http://www.fns.usda.gov/fdd/foods/tefapfoods.pdf)and uses it in school lunch programs and emergency food banks.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/us-touts-fruit-and-vegetables-while-subsidizing-animals-that-become-meat/2011/08/22/gIQATFG5IL_story.html

MtnBiker
05-08-2012, 05:09 PM
Ok, so one article mentions cotton and tobacco as part of 2/3rds (no precentage of the 2/3rds) of subsudies. And one graph has no mention of cotton or tobacco in subsudies, even though is part of 2/3rds, hmmmm.

Noir
05-08-2012, 05:19 PM
Ok, so one article mentions cotton and tobacco as part of 2/3rds (no precentage of the 2/3rds) of subsudies. And one graph has no mention of cotton or tobacco in subsudies, even though is part of 2/3rds, hmmmm.

Well, here's a thought, email your representative and as them, that's what they're there for, no?

PostmodernProphet
05-08-2012, 09:48 PM
this thread puzzles me......beef is sold in our local grocery store for almost $8 a pound....what fruits and vegetables in your grocery store sell for more than meat?....shucks, I gotten grapes from Chili flown in by air and sold in our grocery for 99 cents a pound.....

Noir
05-08-2012, 09:56 PM
this thread puzzles me......beef is sold in our local grocery store for almost $8 a pound....what fruits and vegetables in your grocery store sell for more than meat?....shucks, I gotten grapes from Chili flown in by air and sold in our grocery for 99 cents a pound.....

Well i'll just let you puzzle over it then.

PostmodernProphet
05-08-2012, 09:56 PM
I hate to criticize your source, Noir, but it seems to me that subsidies for meat (which to be honest, I couldn't even find) did not make it into the top 8 in 2005

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/58/United_States_farm_subsidies_%28source_Congression al_Budget_Office%29.svg/540px-United_States_farm_subsidies_%28source_Congression al_Budget_Office%29.svg.png

PostmodernProphet
05-08-2012, 10:00 PM
Well i'll just let you puzzle over it then.

I think I'll just call it a thread fail then.....bogus data results in bogus conclusions....

you start a thread complaining that fruit and vegetables are more expensive than meat (when it isn't) and you blame "meat" subsidies which don't even exist.....

DragonStryk72
05-08-2012, 10:03 PM
It has to be said if there's one thing 'against' the vegan lifestyle its cheap mass-produced flesh. You can feed a family with a bucket from KFC (and while not advised) its certainly a common occournce, and one thats much cheaper than buying and making your own meat free meals.

Though i personally think most meats at markets (red meat especially) and dairy (cheese and eggs especially) are remarkably expensive for what you get.

But when you look at it, even in passing, something seems wrong, how can meats be competing (and in cases undercutting) costs of fruit and veg? Meats have a lot more work involved, more land needed, more time taken, more water and feed needed, more transport costs, less of a shelf life and so on, the answer is...the government, or rather the tax-payer, or rather, your money.

The Dairy and Meat industries get *huge* subsities from the State to keep them competitive, and the numbers are huge, billions of dollars every year to make sure the meat and dairy industries can survive.

But surly other food industries get this too? Well yes, to a lesser extent, behind the meat and dairy industry come the grains, they get a considerable second slice of the pie, though of course many of those grains will be turned onto feed for the animals in the meat and dairy industry...and what of Fruit and Veg? Combined they get less that one percent of the pie.

Grapical representation of the subsidy pie, last year.

http://i45.tinypic.com/16i7wo.png

Now, lets image for a minute that the government didn't spend your money supporting an industry that can't support itself. Or even, if it just cut say 10% from the meat and dairys and put that into fruit and veg...the world of a difference, no?

And God help you if you want to grow organically, because you have to pay the government more for that ability. That's one of the reasons organic produce is more expensive than non-organic produce.

Noir
05-08-2012, 10:07 PM
And God help you if you want to grow organically, because you have to pay the government more for that ability. That's one of the reasons organic produce is more expensive than non-organic produce.

0:
In what sense do you have to pay for the ability? As in for the label?

DragonStryk72
05-08-2012, 10:08 PM
0:
In what sense do you have to pay for the ability? As in for the label?

Yup, plus the testing and licensing fees. So they're actually getting kinda screwed.

DragonStryk72
05-08-2012, 10:17 PM
There wasa piece on TED about it.

Noir
05-08-2012, 10:19 PM
Got too much money? Become a pig farmer.


Economic Disaster in the US Pork Industry and Implications for North CarolinaKelly Zering, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at North Carolina State University explains why the current economic climate has hit the state's pig industry particularly hard. The article is published in the University's Swine News.

US pig producers have lost an average of more than $21 per hog marketed on every hog sold since October, 2007 (Lawrence, based on USDA data). More than 195.6 million market hogs have been slaughtered in the US during that time (USDA NASS), so pig producers have lost more than $4.1 billion in equity in the last 21 months. The equity loss is more than 50 per cent of the estimated equity in the US pig farming sector at the beginning of October 2007 (Meyer, 2009a).
Read more - http://www.thepigsite.com/articles/2883/economic-disaster-in-the-us-pork-industry-and-implications-for-north-carolina

PostmodernProphet
05-08-2012, 10:19 PM
stop and consider for a moment the purpose behind subsidies.......the government subsidizes farmers to grow certain products which would not be profitable to grow but which are needed.......if fruits and vegetable are not subsidized it is likely because they are profitable to grow without subsidies.....if, for example, the government wanted farmers to grow corn instead of soybeans (a more profitable crop but more damaging to the soil) they offered a subsidy to encourage farmers to grow corn and rotate their crops.....of course, since they've discovered that they can make ethanol out of corn the amount the government pays in subsidies has dropped to something like 10% of what it was back in the 90s.....

PostmodernProphet
05-08-2012, 10:25 PM
Got too much money? Become a pig farmer.


Read more - http://www.thepigsite.com/articles/2883/economic-disaster-in-the-us-pork-industry-and-implications-for-north-carolina

when I was growing up the hog market was more cyclical......nearly every farmer in Iowa raised some hogs.....the growth cycle for hogs is short, about nine months from farrowing to sale.....if the price was high all the farmers increased the number of hogs they raised.....thus the supply would be high nine months later and the price would drop.....so people wouldn't raise as many hogs and the price would go up.....nowdays most hogs are raised in huge confinement setups and the supply is more constant

Noir
05-08-2012, 10:32 PM
stop and consider for a moment the purpose behind subsidies.......the government subsidizes farmers to grow certain products which would not be profitable to grow but which are needed.......if fruits and vegetable are not subsidized it is likely because they are profitable to grow without subsidies.....if, for example, the government wanted farmers to grow corn instead of soybeans (a more profitable crop but more damaging to the soil) they offered a subsidy to encourage farmers to grow corn and rotate their crops.....of course, since they've discovered that they can make ethanol out of corn the amount the government pays in subsidies has dropped to something like 10% of what it was back in the 90s.....

That would be well and good, if meat was needed, which its not. People may like it, they may want it, but it is not a need, and to burn money the way the gov is, billions of dollars, on something that is not needed is a bit silly IMO. But hey, who needs a free market to decide whats best, when the government can spew your money at it.

Noir
05-08-2012, 10:34 PM
when I was growing up the hog market was more cyclical......nearly every farmer in Iowa raised some hogs.....the growth cycle for hogs is short, about nine months from farrowing to sale.....if the price was high all the farmers increased the number of hogs they raised.....thus the supply would be high nine months later and the price would drop.....so people wouldn't raise as many hogs and the price would go up.....nowdays most hogs are raised in huge confinement setups and the supply is more constant

And they're constantly losing money, ace.

logroller
05-09-2012, 01:58 AM
Hey noir, are you familiar with the economic principle of comparative advantage? In a nutshell, it where specialization is encouraged because the opportunity cost (the cost of not doing something else) is less than the gains of doing one thing, alone. Take, for example, the US/Japan trade relationship. The us can raise beef and produce cars cheaper than japan. Free market, no trade. However, Japan does produce cars we demand, so we need somehong to trade with them. As we've the capacity to produce far more wheat than we need; export that wheat, right? Wrong. Other countries can produce wheat cheaper than we can. In a free market, we'd have nowhere to sell our wheat; not even at home, despite our vast agricultural lands. However, if we subsidize that wheat, controlling the price, we manipulate the trade advantage compared with other countries to our favor. Now, I'm not saying this is the most ethical thing to do in a global sense, but it does make sense from a domestic standpoint.

If you're looking for someone to blame, blame Keynes and the heads of state following world war two who formed the IMF trade policie. Of course, those policies also brought about postwar growth without the burden of excessive reparations. Which we learned about how reparations from the treaty of Versailles, combined with free market conditions, led to the pitfalls of hyper inflation, which then enabled the nazi party to gain political traction. Thats no hyperbole either, that is exactly how that happened.

Modern subsidies are of course the inverse of those first implemented by the new deal; though both stabilize prices. Now we pay down the price; keeping it artificially low. Whereas new deal subsidies actually kept the price up to foster stable prices, as the depression had caused a fallout for everything; with no money to pay for commodities, the price dropped, farms went under, and without crops on those lands, the topsoil blew away; then when the market actually did stabilize, as markets will do, on their own , the lands were no longer arable. I could on and on if you'd like, I haven't even got to the price of tea in China yet. ;)

Anyways, my point is that it's easy to blame lobbies and meat- murderers, but the relationship of subsidies on regional production, manufacturing and service sector money multiplier effects and the strategic role that plays in the technological advantages our economy now excels at is quite complex. If it were as simple as you premise; wouldnt we already be doing that way??? Just saying, every opportunity costs man. Nothing is as simple as it seems.

PostmodernProphet
05-09-2012, 07:26 AM
That would be well and good, if meat was needed, which its not.

but you see, that's sort of my point....the federal government doesn't subsidize meat......never has.....this whole lame argument stems from the fact that the government subsidizes corn, which can be used as an animal feed but which is subsidized for a totally different reason (crop rotation and soil conservation)..........

Noir
05-09-2012, 07:50 AM
but you see, that's sort of my point....the federal government doesn't subsidize meat......never has.....this whole lame argument stems from the fact that the government subsidizes corn, which can be used as an animal feed but which is subsidized for a totally different reason (crop rotation and soil conservation)..........

Well every article i find states the meat and dairy subsidies are around 60-70%, however i've got an american friend to mail their representatives to get a breakdown of meat, dairy and grain subsidies. Ofcoures i'll post the replies her as soon as i get them (:

Howard Roark
05-09-2012, 09:14 AM
I hate to criticize your source, Noir, but it seems to me that subsidies for meat (which to be honest, I couldn't even find) did not make it into the top 8 in 2005

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/58/United_States_farm_subsidies_%28source_Congression al_Budget_Office%29.svg/540px-United_States_farm_subsidies_%28source_Congression al_Budget_Office%29.svg.png
Given that feed it the highest on your chart, wouldn't that be considered in the meat category?

Meat doesn't even make that chart.

PostmodernProphet
05-09-2012, 11:36 AM
Well every article i find states the meat and dairy subsidies are around 60-70%, however i've got an american friend to mail their representatives to get a breakdown of meat, dairy and grain subsidies. Ofcoures i'll post the replies her as soon as i get them (:


and when I googled meat subsidies all the hits that said there was such a thing came from the same place.....now perhaps they are including the meat that the school lunch program purchases (school lunches actually being a part of the agricultural budget).....but they aren't subsidies.....I assume, though, that the claim results from including corn subsidies under "meat" instead of under "grain".......

PostmodernProphet
05-09-2012, 11:37 AM
Meat doesn't even make that chart.

that's because there is no such thing as a "meat" subsidy.....

Noir
05-09-2012, 11:53 AM
that's because there is no such thing as a "meat" subsidy.....

Bexuase the meat susbtitys are done through feed and water subsities for livestock.

tailfins
05-09-2012, 12:01 PM
Want to fix our gross gov't spending? Remove automatic deductions from payrolls. As-is, our pay is our "NET"

If you want that it's easy, just ask for a 1099 or corp-to-corp arrangement during the interview process. Corp-to-corp can be a real bonanza. You pay yourself about 60% of the income and structure the rest as capital gains on stock in your own company. It removes 40% of your pay from FICA. Don't pay yourself less than 60% or the IRS will start to hassle you. You get the added benefit of using the standard deduction on your personal tax return and getting itemized deductions on your corporate tax return.

PostmodernProphet
05-09-2012, 10:27 PM
Bexuase the meat susbtitys are done through feed and water subsities for livestock.
is the subsidy for rice really a chopstick subsidy?......

Noir
05-10-2012, 01:02 PM
is the subsidy for rice really a chopstick subsidy?......

If you think that's a reasonable comparison you're wayyy off the mark =/ rice can be used in a verity of ways, and be bought/sold/consumed for various reasons and markets, and has many spin off markets.

How many markets exactly does Animal Feed have? Other than, you know, animal feed. That is the sole purpose of the feed, and the reason for the subsity. Unless your food for school lunches program are running really short on funds...

PostmodernProphet
05-10-2012, 01:06 PM
If you think that's a reasonable comparison you're wayyy off the mark =/ rice can be used in a verity of ways, and be bought/sold/consumed for various reasons and markets, and has many spin off markets.

How many markets exactly does Animal Feed have? Other than, you know, animal feed. That is the sole purpose of the feed, and the reason for the subsity. Unless your food for school lunches program are running really short on funds...

of course it's a reasonable comparison....there is no "meat" subsidy, there is no "animal feed" subsidy.....there is a corn subsidy and it has as many if not more variety of uses than rice does....face it, your OP was a propaganda piece......