Farm Bureau to celebrate food check-out day

Tuesday, February 5, 2002

Food in America is affordable. In fact, between January 1 and February 8, the average American will have earned enough income to pay for his or her family's entire 2002 food supply, according to the Buena Vista County Farm Bureau.

As a result, the Buena Vista County Farm Bureau is celebrating February 8, as Farm Bureau's Food Check-Out Day. According to the latest statistics compiled by the Agriculture Department's (USDA's) Economic Research Service, American families and individuals currently spend, on average, just 10.6 percent of their disposable personal income for food.

Applying the current 10.6 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 39 days.

"Not only is America's food supply the world safest, but it's also the most affordable," said Steve Jorgensen, Buena Vista County Farm Bureau president. "It speaks well of our nation's increasing standard of living, which would certainly be reduced without the safe, abundant and affordable domestic food supply produced by America's farmers and ranchers."

In comparison to Food Check-Out Day, Tax Freedom Day, the day the average American had earned enough money to pay federal, state and local taxes, was May 3 last year, according to the Tax Foundation

"I find it amazing that people can pay for their yearly food supply three months earlier than it would take them to satisfy their tax burden," Jorgensen said. "Rather than being an economic burden, food remains quite a bargain for shoppers. That's the way it should be."

Jorgensen hopes Americans 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."

Jorgensen added, "This day should hold meaning for most Americans. As food producers, we are concerned that some Americans cannot afford to buy the food they need, but we are proud of the role Iowa 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 25 years. In 1970, Food Check-Out Day would have been 12 days later-February 21.

"Food Check-Out Day tracks the amount of income needed by Americans to purchase food on an annual basis," Jorgensen said. "It should be useful over time to measure fluctuations in the affordability of food."

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