Currently viewing the category: "FOOD"

Well, last month I reversed myself from the month before for Grand Forks. To put it simply, if I was going to make a statement for this month I would hope none of you would go back and look at what I said then and then I would reverse myself again.

Or as the economist say, I wish I had that third hand. Since I don’t let me see if I can add some value to these May data. Basically, it is this, the economy in Grand Forks is in flux. Oh, I know, they talk about this sector and that sector, but in the end it comes to this: yes, there is some growth because of the oil patch. In fact, there may be a few engineering, architectural, and construction firms still benefiting from the oil economy, but the go-go days are over. Today, it is just some good steady work for some good steady companies.

So, too in the retail area-for the major ones anyway. For the 80 percent of the Canadians who are still coming here they head to the big boxes and their favorite haunts as far as motels and restaurants and lounges, especially now that UND hockey is over for a few months.

For the rest, well maybe the UAVs will start to bring some big money across the economy, but as of now it is simply the motels and restaurants where those specialist stay when they come to Grand Forks. It is not a big contributor to the Grand Forks economy yet.

UND is still a good steady base, but not growing. So, to is our real base-agriculture and even that has changed. The potato industry is not nearly the size that it was from the 1950s through the 1990s. Sugar beets are big, but also not growing. Corn is the new crop but it doesn’t take the kind of personnel those earlier crops did. Farming has changed, so too is Grand Forks.

As for those other cities, again we need to remember that much of the difference in totals can be because of the amount of the city sales tax. Some are one per cent, some are two. I am not listing that here, but unless there has been a change in the amount of a cities tax from last year the percentage change among the towns tell us something.


There have been articles in some of the printed press recently about the increase in food costs. It is certainly true that prices at the grocery store are higher than a year ago. However, except for some of the meat products which have increased substantially due to the weather I don’t know if an increase of 3 to 4 percent which is the amount I have read is that much.

Especially, when the articles I have seen fail to mention that this is the first increase in prices in the past couple of years. In the meantime, most of those who have not had a layoff have had increases in their earnings over that period. That means the cost of food for many has decreased over that time period and even with this years increase they are spending a smaller percent of their income on food than they did two years ago.

The other thing I have not seen in these articles is what each economic sector’s share of the prices received is.

I recently ran across this table which was calculated by the National Farmers Union. It only shows the farmers share. It doesn’t show how much goes to the transportation sector which is now paying higher fuel costs, nor the processing sector for turning corn into corn flakes. Nor the supermarket for their costs and profits.

The other thing that is important to all of American, and especially to this sector of the country is just how much agricultural prices have declined in the past year and more. While that was also not included in the series, readers can see that by reviewing some of my earlier postings.

I know that most people not involved in the food sector understand how little of the total price the farmer gets. Here is a relatively current example. Thanks to the Farmers Union for providing this data.