3 women SDFU
LUNCH LESSON: Lois Taylor (left) wears the Thank a Farmer sticker she received at the SDFU lunch. The meal cost just 30 cents at the South Dakota State Fair. She ate at the fair with her daughter, Sheri Severson, and granddaughter, Bethany Severson.

30 cents for lunch

SDFU prices a lunch at the South Dakota State Fair to show consumers how much of their food dollars farmers and ranchers receive.

What a good way to show people how low farm prices are!

South Dakota Farmers Union charged only 30 cents for a lunch it served at the South Dakota State Fair this year. The pulled pork sandwich, baked beans, potato chips and milk would have typically cost $10 if purchased at a restaurant, according to SDFU.

The farm group served nearly 1,000 people.

"The state fair provides us with the opportunity to share our story and explain the investment we make in raising safe and healthy food while at the same time, taking care of our natural resources," says Terry Sestak, District 1 Farmers Union board member and fourth-generation Tabor, S.D., farmer. "Yes, farming and ranching is a business; we need to make a profit in order to continue feeding the world. However, it also a way of life we value."

"There is a large gap between prices charged in grocery stores and the actual profits received by farmers and ranchers who raise the ingredients," says Doug Sombke, SDFU president and Conde, S.D., farmer.

In fact, due to the drought and low prices this year, some Dakota farmers and ranchers may lose money.

They will be, in effect, paying to produce their food.

Instead of charging state fair-goers 30 cents for the meal, maybe SDFU should have paid them a quarter to eat it.

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