The transition from lots of mid-size farms toward fewer, behemoth operations that we’ve discussed in Farm Size Matters didn’t come out of nowhere. The major appeal of extra-large farms, and the reason it’s so hard to slow their growth in the market, is that their crops funnel into a massive, streamlined chain of production that can whittle the price of a loaf of bread from the grocery store down to a couple bucks.
For every loaf of bread you buy, wheat farmers are only getting a tiny slice — in 2014, farmers received about 15 cents per $2.69 loaf of bread. Big farms can take a low price because they are selling so much — which makes small and mid-size wheat farms far less competitive. We put together a comparison of how a small-batch, artisanal loaf of bread from your local bakery might be made vs. a bagged loaf from the grocery store.
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