MAYO — The foundation of our well-being as a society depends upon the domestic production of food. Our farmers and ranchers provide us with an abundant, nutritious food supply throughout the year.

In recognition of this achievement, members of the Lafayette County Farm Bureau along with the surrounding county Farm Bureau offices will celebrate Food Check-Out Week from Feb. 17 through Feb. 21.

The Farm Bureau will be joining with the Ronald McDonald House in Tallahassee on Feb. 18, where it will be donating more than $1,000 in fresh food as well as sponsoring a luncheon for the staff and volunteers at the charity house.

“Thanks to the productivity and efficiency of Florida’s agricultural producers, they continue to maintain a stable bounty of food in our communities,” the Farm Bureau said in a release. “Their skills have overcome a difficult marketplace, weather extremes and plant and animal pests and diseases.

“Their effective natural resource management provides crucial environmental benefits to all Floridians. According to state officials, farmers and ranchers conserve 12 billion gallons of water each year by their care.”

Farm families achieve these successes despite receiving a steadily smaller portion of the retail grocery dollar. According to new U.S. Department of Agriculture data, in 1973 farmers and ranchers received approximately 30 cents out of every dollar spent on food. By 2018, the share farmers and ranchers received had declined to approximately 10.4 cents. The pattern remains the same for this year. Off-farm costs — processing, packaging, transportation, wholesaling and retailing — account for the majority of the food prices consumers pay.

Most of the recent increase in retail food prices have been the result of higher prices of energy needed to process, haul and refrigerate food.

The bountiful domestic food supply is the product of skill and dedication. 

“We invite area residents to join us in celebrating the farmers and ranchers who grow healthy and nutritious foods,” the Farm Bureau added in the release. “We are proud to highlight Florida agriculture and the people who make is successful.”

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