The cost of food in the United States remains affordable. In fact, in about 36 days, the average American will have earned enough disposable income to pay for his or her family's food for an entire year.
To celebrate the affordability of food in America, Georgia Farm Bureau is joining American Farm Bureau in designating February 4-10, as Farm Bureau's Food Check-Out Week. According to the latest statistics by the U. S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service, American families and individuals currently spend, on average, just under 10 percent of their disposable personal income for food.
Applying the current ten percent statistic to the calendar year, it means the average household will have earned enough disposable income - that portion of income available for spending or saving - to pay for its annual food supply in just weeks.
Many of us take for granted that we have the most safe and affordable food in the world according to the McDuffie County Farm Bureau. We need to share that abundance with those less fortunate in our communities.
To celebrate our safe and abundant food supply, McDuffie County Farm Bureau is participating in a statewide Food Check-Out Week event. During January and early February, we will be taking donations to assist the hungry in our county and provide food and assistance for the Ronald McDonald House in Savannah.
"Not only is America's food supply the world's safest, but it is also the most affordable," said J. Robert Farr, president of McDuffie County Farm Bureau. "As we celebrate the efficiency and productivity of our farmers in Georgia and all our farmers and ranchers in the United States, we want to share that bounty with others less fortunate in our community and be a part of the statewide effort to provide assistance for one of the Ronald McDonald Houses in Georgia."
For every donation made at the McDuffie County Farm Bureau office, the donor's name will be written on a special card and displayed during the donation period.
"Of the money collected during this time, half will stay here for us to assist the hungry in McDuffie County. The other half will go to the Georgia Farm Bureau Women's Committee, the sponsor of the statewide effort, to help assist visiting families staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Savannah," said Avis McGahee, McDuffie County Farm Bureau Women's Committee Chair.
The Ronald McDonald House provides a "home-away-from-home" for the families of seriously ill children receiving medical treatment in the area. Food is a primary need at each of these houses. Each year, the Georgia Farm Bureau Women's Committee rotates the state focus to a different Ronald McDonald House. In the last four years, they have made donations to the Ronald McDonald House of Central Georgia in Macon, the Ronald McDonald House of West Georgia in Columbus, the Ronald McDonald House of Augusta, and the Ronald McDonald House of Atlanta.
Farm Bureau hopes Georgians will come to understand that the high-quality, affordable food they enjoy is a product of our successful food production and distribution system, as well as America's farmers retaining access to effective and affordable crop protection tools.
This week should hold meaning for most Americans. As food producers, we are concerned that some Americans cannot afford to buy food they need, but we are proud of the role Georgia farmers play in making our food supply more affordable for all.
The percent of disposable personal income spent for food has declined over the last 35 years. According to 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 made more notable by the fact that trends indicate Americans are buying more expensive convenience food items for preparation at home, as well as more food away from home.
The Agriculture Department's latest statistic, compiled for 2005, includes food and non-alcoholic beverages consumed at home and away from home. This includes food purchases from grocery and other retail outlets and food purchases with food stamps and vouchers for the Women, Infants and Childrens (WIC) program. The statistic also includes away-from-home meals and snacks purchased by families and individuals, as well as food furnished to employees.
"McDuffie County Farm Bureau is proud to be a part of the statewide Food Check-Out Week commemoration," said President Farr. "And we hope that consumers take note of Food Check Out Week and join us in this celebration of American agriculture's success."
Founded in 1937, Georgia Farm Bureau is the state's largest general farm organization with almost 438,000 member families statewide.