Sunday began the annual Food Checkout Week, a week recognized as the time of year when the average American has earned the amount of money that it will take to buy their food for the entire year. South Carolina’s Ag Commissioner Hugh Weathers was one of the instigators of the now nationally recognized Food Checkout Week:
“Well, we remind people that the United States has the safest, most abundant and most affordable food supply that they can get anywhere on the globe. And Food Checkout Week is just a way of visualizing and saying that by this time in February you have earned enough of your salary to pay for your food for the year.”
Conversely, Tax Freedom Day is still weeks away, usually the last week of March, first week of April. But, with energy costs rising virtually daily, Weather says that cost to the average American is set to surpass the cost of food:
“With the gasoline prices moving where they are, energy costs will be a higher percentage for us than our food costs.”
It well known that Americans have the most abundant, most affordable, safest food supply in the world, and that’s one of the purposes of Food Checkout Week:
“Lets people know what a great opportunity they have and how much of their income is freed up by affordable food here in the United States.”
Farmers and consumers are always encouraged to have honest conversations about how food is raised, particularly so this week.
Oil Prices Soar
Oil prices jumped to a nine-month high above $105 a barrel in overseas trading Monday after Iran said it halted crude exports to Britain and France in an escalation of a dispute over the Middle Eastern country's nuclear program. Phil Flynn a senior market energy analyst with PFG Best research says high gas prices could spell bad news for the economic recovery.
“Any spike, because we’ve priced in these possibilities would be short-lived. But, still in the short run it’s going to do a lot of damage to the economy.”
EPA Clears Way for E15
The Environmental Protection Agency has given the go-ahead for the sales of a mixture of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline. Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis says – now it is up to the retailers and individual fuel companies to register for approval to sell E15. Another hurdle might be any laws the states have governing sales of gasoline mixed with ethanol.
Ag Issues Make Short List of Senate Committee on Emergency Preparedness
After last year’s tornados and hurricane, NC Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler worked with the NC Senate Committee on Emergency Preparedness about agricultural issues that stem from a disaster:
“We had all kinds of questions about emergency preparedness with response to farming.”
Troxler says that last year’s disasters brought something to light as far as assistance to agriculture following a disaster:
“I think that one of the major things that we need to address is setting up some agriculture emergency response teams. What we saw is that
FEMA comes to town, all these people come to town, but there’s nobody out there that’s trying to help this number one industry that we have get back on it’s feet in this first 24 to 48 hours.”
That Committee made its recommendations last week, and Commissioner Troxler is pleased with what came out of the committee:
“I think I was. I think they had 11 recommendations come out of that committee and I think seven of them had come from the agriculture side.”
As far as the recommendations being implemented, Troxler says that he hopes they’re on a fast track and will be addressed in the General Assembly short session in May.