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Food Check Out Week

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Food Check Out Week - 5 Weeks Income Pays for Year's Supply of Food

What does everyone think of this article I read on the Farms.com News site.

Farm Bureau: 5 Weeks Income Pays for Year's Supply of Food

OMAHA (DTN) -- In just five weeks, the average American earns enough disposable
income to pay for his or her food supply for the entire year, according to
the American Farm Bureau Federation. Farm Bureau is celebrating the continued
affordability of food Feb. 4-10, during Food Check-Out Week.
The latest statistics compiled by the Agriculture Department's Economic
Research Service indicate American families and individuals currently spend,
on average, just 9.9 percent of their disposable personal income for food.
Applying the current statistic to the calendar year means the average U.S.
household will have earned enough disposable income -- the portion of income
available for spending or saving after taxes are paid -- to pay for its annual
food supply this week.
"When you consider the average price increases that Americans have absorbed
for vehicles, gasoline and other consumer products over the past 20 years,
the cost of food really does seem like a bargain," said Terry Gilbert, a Kentucky
farmer and AFB Women's Leadership Committee chair. "We are blessed with a
safe, abundant and affordable domestic food supply here in the United States,
thanks to the farmers and ranchers who produce it."
In comparison to working 36 days to pay for food, Americans worked 77 days
to pay their federal taxes, 62 days to pay for housing and household operation,
and 52 days for health/medical care, according to The Tax Foundation. Food
Check-Out Week should be meaningful for most Americans, Gilbert said.
"As food producers, we remain concerned that some Americans are not able
to afford to buy the food they need, but we are proud of the role U.S. farmer's
play in making our food supply more affordable for all," she said. The percent
of disposable personal income spent for food has declined over the last 37
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 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 also includes away-from-home meals and snacks purchased by
families and individuals, as well as food furnished to employees.
Author :          Agriville User
Date Posted : 1/24/2008 8:58:24 AM
Re: Food Check Out Week Report this Message    |   Reply to this Message
less than 10% of disposable income after taxes? I rest my case.
How smart is it to produce more so you can lower the price? Does Ford make more pickups when nobody wants the ones they have?
I believe this over supply of food can be reduced through the bio fuel program? Simple supply and demand? We should all be lobbying our government to up the legislated blend of both ethanol and bio deisel!
Of course this will hurt the Canadian consumer...why he might have to spend 12% of his money on food !
Date Posted : 1/24/2008 8:59:02 AM
Re: Food Check Out Week Report this Message    |   Reply to this Message
I noted the comment “We are blessed with a safe, abundant and affordable domestic food supply here in the United States, thanks to the farmers and ranchers who produce it."

Actually it is thanks to farmers and ranchers from all over the world. The United States is the world's largest food importer.

“…we are proud of the role U.S. farmer's play in making our food supply more affordable for all," she said. No reason to be too proud as the farmer has less and less to with the actual retail price of food.

The CIA, when it is not starting wars in third world countries, compiles data suggesting the GDP per capita is $43,500 per year or $119 per day. According to the article, 36 days or $4284 is spent on food. That is $357 per month or $12 per day. No wonder the average American only eats 8 ounces of any kind of meat per day and that consumption of beef has dropped 14% since 1980. Per capita beef consumption is 3 ounces per day.

It would seem to me that the reason the average American only spends $12 per day on food is that is all they can afford. Since 1975 most of the gains in U.S. personal incomes have gone to the top 20% of wage earners. For the rest of the population their income levels have remained relatively constant. According to the CIA, 12% of Americans live below the poverty line.
Date Posted : 1/24/2008 8:59:45 AM
Re: Food Check Out Week Report this Message    |   Reply to this Message
Now I'm not sure about you farmers son, but I doubt I eat 8 ounces of meat a day? I think the Canada food guide only recommends about 3 ounces a day? An eight ounce steak is too big for me.
How much does 3 ounces of hamburger cost? Local flyer has hamburger at $1.89/lb.? Not being argumentive here...just putting it out there?
Is $12 a day too much to spend on food...well maybe it is if you don't have any money? Is $25,000 too much to spend on a car...again probably if you don't have any money? Is $1000/month too much to spend on an apartment...same answer.
Where does it end? When the consumer gets their food for nothing? The fact is, despite the farmer and processor becoming more efficient, there has to be a profit for them to continue?
Yes cheap food can be imported, and that seems to be the preferred way to keep costs cheap. It is not helpful for the primary producer...which I might suggest is why our rural population is getting older with very few young farmers coming up? It works in the short term but where does it end?
Date Posted : 1/24/2008 9:00:00 AM
Re: Food Check Out Week Report this Message    |   Reply to this Message
I guess when commenting on an article like this you need to consider just who the target audience is. Given the American Farm Bureau Federation had this piece published on DTN it would seem safe to presume the purpose was to rally the troops back home on the farm more than to provide any real useful information.

The entire article can be viewed at:

http://www.fb.org/index.php?fuseaction=newsroom.newsfocus&year=2007&file=nr0205.html

There is nothing wrong with the AFB trying to make farmers feel proud. Why shouldn’t farmers feel proud. However the image of the American farmer feeding Americans is probably a thing of the past.

I think producers, in the United States, Canada and beyond, need to form a new image of themselves. The old image, the image the AFB seems to be supporting, of the red hip roof barn with the small silo next to it, pa in his coveralls with the red hankie in his hip pocket and ma in her apron standing beside, the faithful John Deere 720 coming over the knoll, is a thing of the past. The modern farmer works in a global market place not a domestic marketplace and the produce from that farm may end up in a fuel tank, a protein supplement for a BSE cow in the UK or a restaurant in Japan; not in an American kitchen.

While the AFB may be forgiven for taking some poetic license with the facts they are doing farmers everywhere a disservice by perpetuating a myth of the proud American farmer producing evermore food for less to fill the American dinner plate thereby sustaining fortress America. Even American farmers are going to need to start thinking in new terms. That they produce food, fuel, feed in a global marketplace and how many days the American consumer has to work to pay for their food bill is of little real consequence to them.
Date Posted : 1/24/2008 9:00:28 AM
  
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