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Rural Missouri Magazine

Buy locally — help a neighbor

by Barry Hart

by Barry Hart

This time of year, farmers around the state are starting or wrapping up the harvest. They can enjoy the fruits of their labors, take a satisfying rest, and take some time with family and friends to thank the good Lord for his help with a successful crop or surviving the poor weather some areas had this summer.

I often wonder if there’s some way we can help our neighbors by purchasing their products. What really got me to thinking about this is a little message I am seeing as I browse the Internet. It says, “Browse globally, buy locally.”

That little saying makes sense. What it means is do your research online. But when it comes time to buy, shop at home.

It’s no secret that you can get some pretty good prices on the Internet. But buyer beware: There’s more to a purchase than the price.

Recently, a friend told me that he had made his first major purchase from an Internet site. He was proud of the savings he made, thinking he was a pretty smart shopper. But then he thought a little more about his decision to buy online.

Part of the price savings came from the fact that the Internet store did not charge sales tax. Where I live, the tax rate is about 7.5 percent. For a major purchase, that can be a lot of money.

But think about what that 7.5 percent does. It helps pave city streets and build sidewalks. It helps schools pay competitive salaries. It pays for local government. It ensures that emergency medical services, fire departments, police and 911 are available when we need them.

Besides helping provide services we take for granted, my local purchase would have put money in a neighbor’s pocket. Every dollar spent locally ripples through the economy and stimulates a lot of good things.

My friend's Internet bargain turned out to be less of a bargain the first time he needed some help with it. When you buy locally, you buy more than the product — you also purchase the assistance of the person who sold it to you.

These days there are many opportunities to buy locally. Farmers’ markets let producers take their goods directly to the consumer. When we fill up the tank, choosing ethanol or biodiesel lets us help Missouri’s corn and soybean growers. Missouri wine and grape juice is a nice companion to meals, especially ones that include Missouri pork, beef or poultry. The AgriMissouri program (1-866-466-8283 or agrimissouri.com) supports made-in-Missouri products.

This year, as you begin shopping for the holidays, remember that little slogan and buy locally. All of our friends and neighbors will benefit.

Hart is executive vice president of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives.

E-mail Barry Hart

 

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Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives

Rural Missouri
2722 E. McCarty Street
P.O. Box 1645 • Jefferson City, Mo. 65102
573-659-3423

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