|By TIM ALEXANDER
PEORIA, Ill. — Producers of farm products have long known that compared with other countries, America’s food supply is safe and inexpensive. The Peoria County Farm Bureau (PCFB) took that message to hundreds of area consumers at a Peoria Kroger’s supermarket Feb. 1 in honor of Food Check-Out Week.
In addition to PCFB President Milton Smith, Richard and Carroll Carroll, corn and soybean growers from nearby Brimfield, passed out literature and prizes while educating those who approached the group’s booth about the agricultural commodities they grow and the many grocery items containing corn and soybeans.
“Farmers supply a safe and inexpensive food supply to America’s consumers when compared to European and other countries,” Smith said. “Only 9 percent of the disposable income of the typical American family is used towards food buying.”
A study by the USDA’s Economic Research Service supports his claim, and said the average household will earn enough disposable income to pay for its annual food supply in just five weeks. That information compelled the American Farm Bureau Federation to expand the event from Food Check-Out Day to a full week, the fifth week of the year.
In comparison to the five weeks’ work needed to pay for a year’s supply of food, statistics from The Tax Foundation reveal that most Americans work from Jan. 1 until mid-April to pay their 2005 taxes.
Smith said the high-quality, affordable food Americans enjoy is due to “our successful food production and distribution system, as well as America’s farmers retaining access to effective and affordable crop protection tools.”
The week should hold special meaning for most farmers, Smith pointed out.
“As food producers, we are concerned that some Americans cannot afford to buy the food they need, but we are proud of the role Illinois farmers play in making our food supply more affordable for all,” said Smith.
Aside from receiving handouts, which explained Food Check-Out Week and compared U.S. consumer food costs with those of other nations, lucky winners on the PCFB’s giant “roulette” wheel were awarded with a PCFB gift bag that contained a $10 Kroger’s gift card, paid for by the Bureau.
“Our nation’s increasing standard of living would certainly be reduced without the safe, abundant, and affordable domestic food supply produced by America’s farmers and ranchers,” said Smith, who described the week as “very successful.”
This farm news was published in the February 8, 2006 issue of Farm World.