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Farm Wages Grew Faster During Decade of Low Input-Cost Growth, Grow Slower in Year of Higher Inflation

And again, don’t blame workers and wages for inflation! Down on the farm, a new Purdue study finds that farm wages increased more slowly last year than they did on average annually over the preceding decade, while farm input prices roared upward last year much faster than they did during the preceding period of higher wage growth:

An index of agricultural production items, a broad measure of farm input costs, is up 15.6% over the past 12 months.

The cost of anhydrous ammonia has risen the most of any input included in the study, jumping 179% over the past 12 months. Potash prices have increased 107.5%, while prices for DAP, or diammonium phosphate, are up 51.4%. Diesel prices have risen 47.4%.

Meanwhile, seed prices have been relatively stable, rising just 0.2%, and farm wages are up 2.3%, well under the increase in the cost of living.

…By comparison, agricultural production costs rose an average of just 1.2% a year from 2012 through 2021, according to the study. Anhydrous ammonia prices rose by an annual rate of 2.3% while wages increased 4% a year over that 10-year period, and the cost of seed rose at an average annual rate of 1.2% [Philip Brasher, “Most Farm Input Costs Far Outpacing Inflation,” Agri-Pulse, 2022.04.27].

We’ve got to keep saying it to check the opposing lies: workers aren’t driving your prices up; their corporate overlords are.


  1. larry kurtz 2022-04-28

    It’s no secret that capitalists want to manipulate the food web and its supply chain so maybe they have some natural enemies after all. But is a human trophic level just the larder for a pack of predatory oligarchs who feed on miserable and quarrelsome superconsumers?


  2. Mark Anderson 2022-04-28

    Well it was the capitalists that lead to the first revolutionary socialist government in the world, North Dakota. They are still using the banking system the socialists set up.

  3. John 2022-04-28

    Corporatists and banksters are ironic, hubristic bedfellows. One one side of their mouths they whine loudly like Chicken Little about a coming recession; while out the other side of their mouths they chortle about world record corporate profits. They think you’re stupid. And for the moment, too many voters are stupid.

    Those high ag input costs, often feeding on the Russian invasion, occupation, and sanctions from its war on Ukraine — will likely cause global food riots. These food riots may make the 2011 Arab Spring and Ukrainian refugee numbers look small. Russia is busy stealing Ukrainian grain stored near the ports. If Ukraine (and Russia) are unable to buy farming inputs, plant a crop, harvest, and ship that crop through the Black Sea lines of communication, then expect hunger in the Middle East and North Africa. Expect those hungry refugees to invade Europe’s shores and cities. Ukraine (and Russia) are incapable of using rail to ship the volume of grain. Additionally, their trains have a wider gauge than is used in the rest of Europe.

    On one hand, Europe contributed to the coming global hunger. Europe dithered for 6 weeks after it was clear that an armed Ukraine could and would stop the Russians. On the other hand, it’s not too late for Europe, and the US, to vastly step up arms and support to the Ukrainians. This must include armed safe passage through the Black Sea. NATO’s navies – we’re talking about you.

  4. John 2022-04-28

    That likely hungry wave of immigration to Europe from the Middle East and North Africa will further embolden right-wing anti-immigrant, authoritarian parties and politicians, perhaps even close some European borders.
    The dithering European nations will reap what they sowed by not vigorously supporting and arming Ukraine to defeat the Russians.

    We are where we are. The only way through is expelling Russia from all Ukrainian borders and establishing armed patrols in the Black Sea to guarantee safe passage.

    This is an 8+ year war. Glance at the free 2015 documentary on YouTube or Netflix: Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom.

  5. Mark Anderson 2022-04-28

    Come on John, you know we in the United States are willing to fight to last Ukrainian.

  6. John 2022-04-28

    Mark, completely agree.
    The US rarely was the home of the brave. The US barely beat the British junior varsity in our revolution – Britain’s first Army chased Napoleon. The last time America was brave was the Civil War. (The US joined WWI, WWII at half-time, stepping on the scales after the sacrifices of others.) Certainly unit and individual examples of bravery exist – but the nation rarely acted bravely. Glance at the US’s cowardly behavior after 9/11 – shutting down our economy for a month, then attacking the wrong nations.

    Paraphrasing Madeline Albright, and others, what’s the purpose of having a marvelous military that costs more than the next 25 nations, 24 of which are allies, if we can’t, won’t stop genocide or war crimes.

    The modern America way of war is through Wall Street – fund the military, congressional, media, arms complex (selling arms, with forgivable loans) — then swoop in with the (federally funded, forgivable loans) rebuilding contracts.

    Spend a few minutes with:
    to appreciate the state of our circumstances.

    Consider Googling up: Paradox of tolerance – then reflect on Elon Musk’s Twitter campaign siren call for “free speech”. Even pacifist Jesus whipped, beat, and chased the money changers from his temple.
    Stand for something for fall for anything. “Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” Elie Wiesel

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-04-28

    John, I wonder if, as we raise to arm the Ukrainians, the arms manufacturers will slow production to depress supply and increase their prices.

  8. John 2022-04-28

    Better to be prepared and not need it, than to be caught flat-footed again.

    Loathing war: Mexican, Spanish-American,Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, et al; separating the policy from the warriors and units – this Russian war is a just cause as were the Revolution, 1812, WWI, and WWII.

    The US cannot afford losing this Russian War – either foreign or domestic (to the insurrectionists, the authoritarians, the book banners, those limiting classroom discourse).

    It’s likely this war will grow before shrinking. The war is outside of Ukraine to include strikes on Russia, Moldova, and the Turks – using the Montreax Convention – closing the Black Sea. It’s a matter of time until the war extends to (striking) NATO.

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