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February 17, 2011




Jennifer Whittaker,




MACON, Ga. – As American consumers continue to watch their budgets, especially what they spend on groceries, Farm Bureau is using its annual Food Check-Out Week, Feb. 20-26, to help consumers stretch their grocery dollars to buy healthy, nutritious foods.


“Every penny counts these days so Farm Bureau is trying to help educate consumers on how to spend their money wisely when they shop,” Georgia Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee Chairman Donna Powell said. “To get the most nutritious food with less money, dieticians recommend setting a food budget, planning balanced meals, making a list and shopping at competitively priced grocery stores.”


Home economists recommend that consumers select fresh fruits and vegetables in season and buy frozen or canned fruits and vegetables when they’re not in season to save money. Use cost per unit stickers to compare the prices of brands and sizes of shelf items. Look at cost per serving with meat.


Don’t buy an item unless you’re sure it will be eaten. Consumers should be realistic about the preparation time required to wash, peel and chop fresh produce and buy it pre-cut if it will increase the chances of the produce being eaten. Although boneless lean meat may be more expensive, it may be a better buy than lower priced bone-in cuts.


According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the cost of eating healthy is affordable. A USDA report released Feb. 1 shows that an adult on a 2,000-calorie diet can satisfy recommendations for vegetable and fruit consumption in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans at an average price of $2 to $2.50 a day.


A healthy diet includes a variety of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, low fat or fat-free dairy products, lean meats, fish, beans, eggs and nuts within daily calorie needs. Anyone interested in learning more about making healthy food choices should visit to consult the USDA food guidance system. The USDA nutrition program provides a personalized approach to healthy eating and physical activity. You can enter your age, gender and activity level to develop a personalized food plan that will indicate the daily amounts of each food group you should consume at an appropriate calorie level.


Now in its 13th year, Food Check-Out Week also highlights America’s safe, abundant and affordable food supply, made possible by America’s farmers. According to the most recent information from the USDA’s Economic Research Service, American families and individuals spend, on average, less than 10 percent of their disposable personal income for food. In comparison, French consumers spend 14 percent; Chinese consumers spend 33 percent and Indonesian consumers spend 43 percent.


“Some consumers may not realize that on average, farmers only receive 20 cents out of every dollar spent on food. The other 80 cents covers wages and materials for food processing, marketing, transportation and distribution,” said GFB President Zippy Duvall. “Recent food price increases are due primarily to higher energy costs associated with processing, hauling and refrigerating food products. Farmers are consumers, too, and we are experiencing higher fuel and input costs, which means we are keeping a smaller portion of our 20 cents as profit.”


To celebrate the safe and abundant food supply Georgia farmers produce, the Georgia Farm Bureau Women’s Committee is encouraging each county Farm Bureau to collect donations to assist families needing food assistance at the county level and for the Ronald McDonald House in Columbus. During February, county Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committees across Georgia have been collecting money or staple food items to make food donations. Half of the donations collected by the county committees will stay in the county for local food assistance programs while the other half will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House in Columbus by the GFB Women’s Leadership Committee on behalf of county Farm Bureau Women’s Committees across the state.


The Ronald McDonald House provides a home-away-from-home for the families of seriously ill children receiving medical treatment. Food is a primary need at each of these houses.


Each year the GFB Women’s Leadership Committee rotates its state donation among the Ronald McDonald Houses in Augusta, Atlanta, Columbus, Macon and Savannah. Since 1998, GFB has donated $26,700 to the Ronald McDonald Houses of Georgia.


Founded in 1937, the Georgia Farm Bureau Federation is the state’s largest general farm organization. Its volunteer members actively participate in activities that promote agriculture awareness to their non-farming neighbors.