Over the past several decades, how much farmers have made from retail sales of their products has decreased.

In 1950, farmers received about 41% of what consumers spent on food. In 2013, the figure was about 17%, according to a 2015 Congressional Research Service report.

Over the years, more and more of the money has gone to manufacturers and distributors. 

“An array of costs is layered on top of the price of a raw agricultural commodity at each stage of the marketing chain as it moves to the consumer,” the research service report noted. “As a result, the farm share of a food product’s price declines as it moves to the retail outlet.”

The foods consumers enjoy pass through a long journey to reach retail stores. 

Fresh fruits and vegetables are often sorted, cleaned, trimmed and packaged, which affects retail prices, according to the USDA’s Economic Research Service.

Foods that require less processing costs, such as whole milk or butter, lead to more money flowing to farmers, according to the USDA.

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