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Celebrate our healthy, bountiful food supply
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As many Americans continue to face economic hard times, there is no reason to compromise the welfare of your family’s diet. The cost of eating healthy hasn’t changed as much as some less-healthy alternatives. It does require strategic shopping however.

Helping Americans learn how to stretch their grocery dollars with healthy, nutritious food is the theme of Farm Bureau’s Food Check-Out Week, Feb. 20-26. America’s farmers and ranchers are committed to producing safe, healthy and abundant food. And they share a common concern with consumers when it comes to putting nutritious meals on the table while sticking to a tight budget.

Recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) food price data show that prices for unprepared, readily available fresh fruits and vegetables have remained stable relative to dessert and snack foods, such as chips, ice cream and cola. Translation – the price of a healthier diet has not changed compared to an unhealthy diet.

Farm Bureau’s Food Check-Out Week is aimed at helping American consumers learn how to shop wisely while putting nutritious meals on the table with fewer dollars.

Learning to use your grocery dollars wisely helps ensure nutrition isn’t neglected. Fruits and vegetables – along with whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, fish, beans, eggs and nuts – are an important part of a healthy diet.

Buying fresh produce when it’s in season and costs less, while buying frozen fruits and vegetables when they’re not in season, is a smart way to stretch that dollar.

Consumers in Kansas and across this country share in this wealth of food products every time they step foot in their favorite supermarket. Yes, today’s shopper is fortunate to reap the benefits provided by America’s farmers and ranchers.

Crop and livestock producers are proud of their profession. Nowhere is this more visible than the Midwest and our home state of Kansas in particular.

Members of this profession take great pride in producing the cleanest, most abundant crops including wheat, corn, milo, sunflowers and soybeans. In addition, Kansas ranchers produce some of the best cattle, hogs and sheep.

Kansans are also proud that Food Check-out Week is an idea that originated with Kansas Farm Bureau in 1997 and has since gone national. Neosho County Farm Bureau member Linda Reinhart, former chair of the Kansas committee of Farm Bureau Women and the American Farm Bureau Women’s committee, thought the concept was important and saw it through to completion.

The story of the American farmer and rancher is truly a success story. Our producers are the most productive in the world. Remember to help celebrate this story and the healthiest, safest food anywhere on the planet Feb. 20-26.

John Schlageck is a leading commentator on agriculture and rural Kansas. Born and raised on a diversified farm in northwestern Kansas, his writing reflects a lifetime of experience, knowledge and passion.