What have you always wondered about the economy? Tell us

Wheat prices down 25% this year

Sally Herships Dec 9, 2011

Stacey Vanek Smith: The U.S. Department of Agriculture publishes its crop projections today. One highlight? Wheat. Crop output has been growing, and prices have been falling.

Sally Herships reports.

Sally Herships: Remember the big spike in food prices that caused consumer panic in 2008? For farmers, it was an opportunity to cash in.

Dan Manternach: In 2008, wheat became the most profitable crop to grow. It was more profitable than soy beans — and so you had more wheat acres and fewer soy bean acres.

That’s agricultural analyst Dan Manternach. He says now farmers are unhappy. Wheat prices are down 25 percent this year — there’s just too much wheat.

Manternach: One of the jokes you use in the industry is when it comes to commodities you sell it or smell it.

So should we expect this oversupply of wheat to force down the price of bread and cereal?

Jay Sjerven is an editor with Milling and Baking News. He says the recipe for food costs has lots of ingredients.

Jay Sjerven: Packaging, transportation, all of the other costs that go into manufacturing a loaf of bread.

And for now at least, the price of whole wheat bread in the U.S. continues to rise.

In New York, I’m Sally Herships for Marketplace.

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.