American agriculture pulled together this week to thank farmers as the country preps for its national day of eating and expressing gratitude.
Thanksgiving is Thursday, Nov. 25, but those in the ag industry know work to produce America’s food, fiber and fuel goes on every day of the year.
Volunteers who run the AgChat Foundation launched www.foodthanks.com as part of a social media campaign to encourage Americans to publicly show their thanks to America’s agricultural producers.
The website offers visitors five simple tips for showing #foodthanks, from linking to the foodthanks.com site from their Facebook and LinkedIn pages, to adding the hashtag #foodthanks to their social media updates.
The effort is intended to promote what farmers already know but many in the public rarely consider – that America has the safest, most abundant and most affordable food supply in the world, thanks to agricultural producers.
Indeed, last week, the American Farm Bureau Federation reported that 112 volunteers participating in its annual informal Thanksgiving price survey found the cost for classic menu items was about $4.35 per person, or $43.47 for a family of 10.
That is a price increase of about 1.3 percent, but still $1.14 cheaper than what shoppers paid two years ago, when the total was $44.61.
The AFBF survey shopping list includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and beverages of coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with leftovers.
Despite retail price increases during the last year or so, American consumers have enjoyed relatively stable food costs over the years, particularly when adjusted for inflation.
The 1.3 percent increase in the national average cost reported this year by Farm Bureau for a classic Thanksgiving dinner tracks closely with the organization’s 2010 quarterly market basket food surveys and the federal government’s Consumer Price Index (available online at http://data.bls.gov/).
Still, another recent government report, from USDA, showed that nearly 15 percent of American households faced food insecurity last year. The report found 17.4 million households in the U.S. had difficulty providing enough food due to a lack of resources, about the same as in 2008 and as high as the study has found since its inception in 1995.
The full food insecurity report is available at http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/err108/.
More about the #foodthanks campaign is at http://foodthanks.com/.
More about the Farm Bureau study is at http://fb.org/index.php?fuseaction=newsroom.newsfocus&year=2010&file=nr1112.html.