Ranchers hope people check out their food

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The 60 red angus cattle on Steve Andrew's ranch north of Craig will end up on someone's plate someday.

But when shoppers go to the grocery store, they don't always think about the ranchers and farmers who produce the food, said Andrew, who has been ranching in Moffat County for 40 years.

"I don't think many people make the connection," Andrew said Wednesday as he fed his cattle.

This week, the American Farm Bureau Federation is celebrating "food check-out week."

Andrew is a member of the Moffat County branch of the Colorado Farm Bureau.

The bureau uses the program to point out the affordability of food from American agriculture producers and to promote the work ranchers such as Andrew do every year.

According to the Farm Bur--eau, it takes about five weeks for the average American to earn enough disposable income to purchase all of their food for one year.

Celebrating food check-out week is a good way to show consumers that the food they buy is relatively cheap and abundant, Andrew said.

"That's why we're all so big," he said with a laugh.

Food is especially cheap compared with the other necessities in life, Andrew said.

According to the Farm Bur--eau, it takes the average taxpayer until April every year to earn enough disposable income to pay their taxes. Disposable income is the portion of income available for spending or saving.

Shirley Lawton, president of the Moffat County chapter of the Colorado Farm Bureau, said food check-out week makes people think about the cost of food, even if it's for only one week a year.

"Food is still a real good deal in the United States," Lawton said. "At least it will make people think once a year."

In addition to promoting the cost of food during food check-out week, the farm bureau hosts other programs to benefit people who need food.

The American Farm Bureau Federation donated $2,500 to the Ronald McDonald House of Greater Washington D.C. The Colorado farm Bureau donated $1,000 to the Ronald McDonald House in Denver and will cook a dinner for the families there.

Locally, the Moffat County branch plans on donating $1,000 to the Interfaith Food Bank in Craig, Lawton said.

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or bjohansson@craigdailypress.com.

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