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Marketing spreads accounted for three-fourths of last year's increase of 7 percent in the retail cost of a market basket of farm foods. Marketing spreads averaged 9 percent above 1974, chiefly due to higher marketing charges for crop products. Although last year's gain slowed from the record increase of 20 percent in 1974, it was well above the gains of 6 percent in 1973 and 2 percent in 1972. Returns to farmers for food products averaged about 5 percent higher in 1975 than in 1974, mainly because of strong livestock prices. Farmers received an average of 42 cents of each dollar spent by consumers for farm foods in 1975. This was 1 cent less than in 1974, and 4 cents less than the 46-cent share received in 1973, when it was the highest in more than 20 years.


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