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There's a local touch to state-wide food price surveyPosted Friday, July 16, 2010, at 11:59 AM
Prices for foods favored at summer cookouts and picnics have dropped significantly from last year, according to an informal survey of food prices conducted by Indiana Farm Bureau volunteers like Aleta Crowe of rural Bloomfield.
This is the second year IFB has supplemented its regular quarterly informal "market-basket" survey with a special survey geared toward those summer cookout and picnic foods.
Like the quarterly surveys, the cookout market basket isn't a true survey but is instead a snapshot of grocery prices throughout the state.
Indiana is one of only a few state Farm Bureaus that are doing a cookout market basket.
Crowe, who serves as the Women's Leader for Greene County Farm Bureau, Inc. , participates in these kinds of Market Basket surveys about four times a year.
She's been doing the surveys for a couple of years now and said it's time-consuming, but beneficial.
Crowe explained that she doesn't visit every Greene County grocery store with clipboard and pen in hand, but said she tries to rotate around to the various ones at different times of the year.
"I try to get around to several of them (the stores) and don't visit the same ones two years in a row," she told me.
Crowe admits that sometimes she gets 'funny looks' from customers and store employees when she's moving up and down the grocery aisles with her market survey in hand, but says it's all part of keeping consumers advised of price changes -- both good and bad.
This year's cookout market basket included enough food to feed 10 people. Items included prepared potato salad, ground round, hot dogs, baked beans, condiments, American cheese, hamburger and hot dog buns, cola and potato chips.
For 2010, the market basket survey's average total for these 11 items was $30.85 (or about $3.09 per person), down nearly $4 from the 2009 total of $34.72. Totals from the individual shoppers ranged as low as $15.88 and as high as $31.33 for the 11 items.
All but two of the items included on the survey declined in price from last year to this year. The exceptions were ground round, which increased slightly from $5.98 for 2 pounds to $6.22, and a 28-ounce can of baked beans, up 4 cents to $1.98 cents.
The average prices for the other items in the market basket are: hot dogs (1 pound), $2.10, down 70 cents from 2009; 8-count bag of hamburger buns, $1.28, down 21 cents; 8-count bag of hotdog buns, $1.30, down 14 cents; 3-pound container of prepared potato salad, $4.77, down 84 cents; 8-ounce jar of mustard, $1.28, down 14 cents; 24-ounce bottle of ketchup, $1.50, down 12 cents; 16-slice package of American cheese, $2.66, down 22 cents; two 2-liter bottles of cola, $2.60, down 40 cents; and two 11-ounce bags of potato chips, $5.16, down $1.30.
Aleta is also involved in a variety of educational programs for the kids, including helping out with the youth program that is part of the annual Ag Day event at the 4-H fairgrounds.
During this past week, she's been helping out with the Farm Bureau's booth in the commercial building at the fairgrounds. In addition, she's teamed up with Tammy Steiner, the Greene County Cooperative Extension Service Educator, to introduce a new awareness program called "Champions of Animal Care".
Last year, Indiana Farm Bureau launched a statewide media campaign to encourage people to visit the 4-H livestock projects to learn about livestock care and production in their counties.
This program hopes to increase the public credibility of 4-H youth who raise animals and demonstrate proper animal husbandry skills. These are the future leaders of our industry and our communities. As such they can teach their neighbors the facts about modern livestock production and the role it plays in producing the food we eat.
The Greene County program involves about three dozen 4-Hers who participated in this year's fair.
I had the chance to sit down and talk with four of them this week at the fair and will share their story in a Page 1 feature.
This is a great program for Greene County's farm-focused fair.
If you didn't go to the fair this year, you missed a chance to see some great work by our youngsters that is made possible by an army of willing volunteers.
The Greene County Fair is unlike many in our area. There are no amusement rides or carnival games and parking is free.
The fair focuses on our youth, 4-H, livestock and having a good time through hard work.
It is an "Ag Fair" and I and many others who have supported it over the years, really don't want to change that.
Nick is the assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or 1-800-947-4487 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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