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Farm Bureau: July 4th cookout up like a bottle rocket

Your Independence Day weekend will cost a lot more to enjoy this year. The American Farm Bureau Federation says the cost of a cookout is up a whopping 17 percent according to a new report.

The authors of the study assessed many of Americans’ favorite July 4th cookout foods. They found that the price for two pounds of ground beef surged 36 percent to $11.12, two pounds of boneless and skinless chicken breasts jumped 33 percent to $8.99, three pounds of center-cut pork chops climbed 31 percent to $15.26, and 32 ounces of pork and beans rose 33 percent to $2.53.

The Farm Bureau cited continuing supply chain disruptions and broad-based inflation for the double-digit increase in food costs this year. AFBF Chief Economist Roger Cryan also alluded to the cascading impacts of the military conflict in Eastern Europe as Belarusian and Russian fertilizer exports are limited, and much of Ukraine’s food shipments are cut off.

“The increased cost of food and supplies is a very real concern in our country and across the globe,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said in the report. “U.S. food assistance programs and food banks help those who struggle to make ends meet here at home, but the story is much different around the globe as food insecurity skyrockets. The big impact of a single event in Ukraine shows how dependent the world is on stable, productive agriculture.”

In May, the food price index advanced 10.1 percent year-over-year, with the cost of typical household staples soaring. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index report, the price of beef and veal rose 10.2 percent, pork jumped 13.3 percent, ham rose 13.3 percent, chicken rose 17.4 percent, fish and seafood rose 13.1 percent, and eggs soared by 32.2 percent.

Farmer are also feeling the pain, Cryan says.

“Despite higher food prices, the supply chain disruptions and inflation have made farm supplies more expensive; like consumers, farmers are price-takers not price-makers,” he said in a statement. “Bottom line, in many cases the higher prices farmers are being paid aren’t covering the increase in their farm expenses. The cost of fuel is up and fertilizer prices have tripled.”

Many large companies in the food industry have warned that higher prices will persist because of growing costs for ingredients, labor, and transportation.

“Inflation is real, and it’s not going to get any better any time soon in the restaurant business,” Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti said at an investor conference on June 21.

Current economic conditions have 90 percent of Americans worried about food prices, according to a June poll conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Alpha Foods.

–Wire services

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