Grocery prices are still quite affordable, according to Moffat County Farm Bureau members.
Recognizing that is part of National Food Check-Out Week, to be celebrated Sunday through Feb. 23. The Farm Bureau discussed Check-Out Week during its annual meeting Jan. 23 in Craig.
"This is when the state and county Farm Bureaus want Americans to realize that they still have a healthy and abundant food supply available to them," said Shirley Lawton, Moffat County Farm Bureau Women's Committee chairwoman. "It's because of the hard work of the ranchers and farmers."
The United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service reports that American families spend an average of less than 10 percent of their disposable personal income for food each year.
"Thanks to farmers and ranchers, Americans are able to keep food costs reasonable enough so that from Jan. 1 to Feb. 23, the average family has made enough money to pay for a year's worth of groceries," said Melody Villard, president of the Moffat County Farm Bureau. "If we didn't have American farmers and ranchers, we'd have to import our food, which would make it more costly."
In comparison to Food Check-Out Day, the Tax Freedom Day, the day that the average American has earned enough money to pay federal, state and local taxes, is into the second week of April. This is according to the Tax Foundation.
"I find it amazing that people can pay for their yearly food supply more than two months earlier than it would take them to satisfy their tax burdens," Villard said. "Rather than being an economic burden, food remains quite a bargain for shoppers. That's the way it should be."
Lawton reported that the Farm Bureau is also trying to give people ideas as to how to stay within a food budget while preparing nutritious, balanced meals. This includes making and sticking to a list of nutritious foods and stretching dollars by buying fruits and vegetables that are in season. It means staying away from snack foods, too.
In recognition of National Check-Out Week, the Moffat County Farm Bureau is giving $100 to the Interfaith Food Bank in Craig.
Other business at the annual meeting included the election of officers for 2009. Those elected are: Melody Villard, president; Janice Nicoletto, vice president; Albert Villard, secretary; Glenda Bellio, treasurer; and Shirley Lawton, Women's Committee chairwoman.
Recognized during the meeting were Jake and Calista Hamill, who received an award from the Colorado State Farm Bureau for being Farm Bureau members for more than 50 years. They have been members for 54 years. According to Lawton, the couple has possibly been in the local Farm Bureau longer than any other Moffat County residents.
Eric Wellman, Colorado FFA 2008-09 state sentinel, presented a slide show presentation about his recent trip to China, where he studied that country's agriculture. He reported that the average size of a farmer's land there is one-fifth of an acre.
Coming up for the Farm Bureau is a visit from three students from Bear Creek High School in Denver. As part of Senior Field Studies at the high school, the students will come to Moffat County in April. During a weekly visit, the students will stay with host families and learn about what ranchers and farmers do each day.
Hosts for the Bear Creek students will be Moffat County families Rodney and Margaret Culverwell, Todd and Glenda Bellio, and Albert and Melody Villard.
Also coming up for the Moffat County Farm Bureau is Ag Safety and Awareness Week, to be held March 1 through 7. Plans have not been completed for this week. For more information, call Villard at 824-9302.
Diane Prather can be reached at 824-8809 or by writing to her at Box 415, Craig, CO 81626.
Copyright Diane Prather, 2008.