January 31, 2008

Farm Bureau Celebrates 2008 Food Check-Out Week

Food in America is safe, abundant and affordable, thanks in large part to America’s productive farmers and ranchers. According to statistics from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the average American spends slightly less than 10 percent of his or her disposable income to pay for food.

When applied to calendar days, the average American will have earned enough income to pay for the family’s annual food supply just five weeks into 2008. Scotland County Farm Bureau is commemorating this amazing fact, by designating February 3-9 as Food Check-Out Week and Wednesday, Feb. 6, as Food Check-Out Day.

“America’s food supply is the envy of the world,” said David Jackson, Board President. “The safe, abundant and affordable domestic food supply produced by America’s farmers and ranchers is responsible, at least in part, for our nation’s increasing standard of living. Compared to food, Americans work longer each year to pay for their housing, federal taxes and medical care.”

Americans must work 52 days each year to pay for health and medical care, 62 days to pay for housing/household operation and 77 days to pay their federal taxes.

Jackson said the food we enjoy as consumers is a product of our successful production and distribution system, as well as American farmers’ and ranchers’ continued access to effective and affordable crop protection tools.

This week should hold meaning for most Americans, he said. “Although we are concerned that some Americans cannot afford to buy the food they need, we are proud of the role Missouri’s farmers play in producing the most affordable food in the world.”

The percent of disposable personal income spent for food has declined over the last 35 years. In 1970, it took Americans 15 more days to earn enough income to pay for their food supply for the year. According to the USDA, food is more affordable today due to a widening gap between growth in per-capita incomes and the amount of money spent for food. This overall decrease is more notable by trends indicating Americans are buying more expensive convenience foods, as well as more food away from home.

USDA’s latest statistic includes food and non-alcoholic beverages consumed at home and away from home. This includes food purchases from grocery stores and other retail outlets, including food purchases with food stamps and vouchers for the Women, Infants and Children’s (WIC) program. The statistic includes away-from-home meals and snacks purchased by families and individuals, as well as food furnished to employees.

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