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Illinois Farmers Celebrate Safe and Affordable Food Supply

February 16, 2009

Bloomington, IL – By this week of the year, most Americans have earned enough money to pay for their families' food supply for the year. It's called "Food Check Out Week," to highlight the country's safe, abundant and affordable food supply.

Illinois Farm Bureau spokesman Steve Simms says that while food prices rise about three percent each year, we only spend about 10 percent of our incomes on food.

"Food prices are not as high as some people think they are, so their impact overall has been minimal in terms of what people have to spend on their grocery bills."

By comparison, consumers in China spend 26 percent of their incomes on food, and in Indonesia, 55 percent.

Simms says farmers can grow more food with less land, inputs and costs, thanks to modern practices and machinery.

"Agriculture is the number-one industry in Illinois, and farmers are very conscious of the way they supply the food to people of this world, so it's just a way of drawing attention to our contribution."

Marsha Purcell with the American Farm Bureau Federation says food affordability is made possible largely by the country's farmers and ranchers.

"Farmers and ranchers are those who produce the food that is purchased in the supermarket, and many times that connection is not made; people forget that the food came from somewhere before it made it to the supermarket."

With the economic squeeze, this year's "Food Check Out Week" focuses on teaching Americans how to stretch their grocery dollars with nutritious meals.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IL