View Full Version : Investing in food II

06-21-2008, 06:40 AM
Get ready for more price hikes in everything you eat.

from US News and World Report

The United States was fortunate to be an observer, not a victim, when natural disasters ravaged global crops in the first part of this year. Spared from the turmoil, U.S. farmers planted near-record crops this spring and expected to enjoy record prices.

Now, however, there is devastation here, too. Weeks of heavy rain in the Midwest have caused rivers to swell and levees to break. Millions of acres of farmland are now underwater, their plantings most likely destroyed. In Iowa, the country's top corn-growing state, more than 1.3 million acres of corn and 2 million acres of soybeans have been flooded; in total, about 16 percent of the state's farmland is submerged. The full extent of the damage is not yet known. In parts of the upper Midwest, where floodwaters are receding, farmers are assessing their losses, but farther south, along the Mississippi River in Missouri, the waters are still cresting. Comparisons to the catastrophic 1993 floods, which cut corn production by nearly 30 percent in the Midwest and caused $15 billion to $20 billion in damage, are already being made.
For the U.S. corn supply—and consumers—there are two immediate concerns: higher prices and shrinking supplies. On Monday, corn prices on the Chicago Board of Trade flirted with $8 a bushel—up nearly 20 percent in the two weeks and more than double the price last year. Typically, high prices encourage farmers to replant lost or damaged crops. But it is now summer, and replanting at this point is a high-stakes game, especially for corn, which has progressively poorer yields when planted after mid-May. The costs of replanting can become prohibitive, as well. "If I have to put fertilizer and herbicide down again, I might be putting another $200 an acre into the ground," says Iowa Farm Bureau Federation Director of Research Dave Miller. "There is a point when the economics say that it's not a risk worth taking." Even if farmers do replant, they will have to wait at least a week for soils to dry out, Miller says, and yields will most likely be 30 to 40 percent below average.
One point seems certain: The United States will produce less corn this year than last year, which will ratchet up competition for what remains. The drop in corn acres, in fact, predates the floods by several months, since many farmers switched from corn to soybeans this year, and a wet spring delayed some plantings. But flooding has greatly accelerated the loss, and it has also rekindled questions about use—should corn be consumed, converted into fuel, fed to animals, exported?—and about how much the corn now being used for ethanol is affecting food prices. In 2007, U.S. farmers harvested about 13 billion bushels of corn. This year, in light of everything that has happened, the most recent estimates put that figure down at about 11 billion. Meanwhile, demand for corn-based fuel is still growing: Corn used for ethanol is expected to jump by about a billion bushels, or 30 percent, this year.
And yet ethanol producers, like farmers, are in trouble. Flooding has knocked at least five ethanol plants temporarily offline—a sizable but fixable problem. Record corn prices are proving more debilitating. According to several new reports, many small and midsize ethanol plants, staggering under corn costs, may have to close or suspend their operations this summer. Profit margins have evaporated; many plants are running deficits. Larger operations are hurting, too: In what seems an ominous sign, VeraSun Energy Co. announced today that it had decided to delay the opening of what was expected to be one of the largest ethanol plants in the country, citing costs.
Meanwhile, the debate over U.S. ethanol policy has intensified. The Environmental Working Group, a prominent critic of corn-based ethanol, issued a report this week in which it warned that the extreme weather problems in the Corn Belt will very likely worsen food inflation this fall. Congress, the report said, "has only one recourse: reopen the debate on the ethanol mandate." (The mandate, passed in December, requires that the U.S. produce 15 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol by 2015.) But ethanol proponents say such calls are misguided. "Their case is built upon a faulty premise," says Renewable Fuels Association spokesperson Matt Hartwig. Without ethanol blended into gasoline, Hartwig says, gas today would cost 50 to 60 cents more per gallon, which in turn would raise fuel costs incorporated into the price of food.

06-21-2008, 06:45 AM
Was talking to my buddy at the general store. Wholesale bread prices have doubled in the past two weeks. It seems its not so much about the cost of bread as the delivery. They are trying to squeeze out delivery to the low volume stores. if he picks it up its on one third as much.
After they heard the starving into the city's and confiscate their fire arms there will be no chance.

06-21-2008, 06:50 AM
We are only an event or two away from anarchy.

06-21-2008, 07:14 AM
We are only an event or two away from anarchy.

I don't think so, limited chaos maybe. The clampdown is more likely after a very rapid hyper inflation.

"Today, America would be outraged if U.N. troops entered Los Angeles to restore order . Tomorrow they will be grateful! This is especially true if they were told that there were an outside threat from beyond, whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very existence. It is then that all peoples of the world will plead to deliver them from this evil. The one thing every man fears is the unknown. When presented with this scenario, individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee of their well-being granted to them by the World Government."
Dr. Henry Kissinger, Bilderberger Conference, Evians, France, 1991

I know someone will piss on this quote so if in doubt of his mindset go here....http://www.wpngnc.org/kissinger.htm

06-21-2008, 09:23 AM
It may be too late already to stock up on long term storage items. Walton Feed is running about 6 months behind on orders.

The Bigfella
06-21-2008, 09:29 AM
I believe the Martian speculators may have caused this

06-21-2008, 09:56 AM
Damn martians, altering the weather patterns just to make a few Dinars.

06-21-2008, 09:59 AM
The real sh-t will hit the fan when the USDA comes out with crop forcasts in about a month.

06-21-2008, 10:12 AM
The real sh-t will hit the fan when the USDA comes out with crop forcasts in about a month.

Yep. The wrecking crew will want you to believe everything is cool while standing in the breadlines though.:rolleyes:

06-21-2008, 12:49 PM
Damn...glad there's corn for tortillas....

L.W. Baxter
06-21-2008, 01:27 PM
I bought 80 lbs of lovely chuck steaks to put in the freezer the other day, at $2/lb. I repackaged in foodsaver bags to save space and ward off freezer burn. Incredibly good value, brought on by the slaughterhouses being flooded in anticipation of high feed costs. I don't ever expect to see $2 beef steak again. Like $2/gallon gas, an extinct species.

But anyway, I'm going to barbecue while Rome burns.;)

06-21-2008, 02:15 PM
I bought 80 lbs of lovely chuck steaks to put in the freezer the other day, at $2/lb.

That was today..:rolleyes:

06-21-2008, 02:48 PM
Luckily, after the hurricane, I installed two 8D batteries with charger and inverter to keep the freezer/refrig going.....freezer is full of 1/2 cow, a couple dozen chikkins (oven stuffers) and ham/bacon/sausage and veggies.....potatoes is the hard part......Everytime you go to the freezer section of the local safeway or giant, there are virtually no "Ore Ida" french fries or shoestring spuds in the freezer. I have sealed containers of dried spuds, about 30 pounds of irradiated flour, rice, beans etc and canned veggies that I rotate...not too fond of canned goods. Powdered milk is still available at low price. I do have a nice pantry.
The other thing that I have a hard time with is oil for the lamps....walmart has been dry......last year I used the last of my whale oil candles so had to buy the crap that K-mart/walmart sells.

Joe (SoCal)
06-21-2008, 03:04 PM
Work in a restaurant you will never go hungry ;)

06-21-2008, 03:09 PM
Is there any business that goes out of business more often than restaurants?

06-21-2008, 03:15 PM
All my herbs are growing like crazy as long as I keep them out of the sun...it's too hot......but all the tomatoes and peppers seem to be creeping along, not making much progress. Was considering when I get the new house, to have part of the rear deck made into a small greenhouse, about 10 x 12......

Joe (SoCal)
06-21-2008, 04:53 PM
Is there any business that goes out of business more often than restaurants?

Yea but three new ones open, when one goes out of business ;)

06-21-2008, 05:03 PM
Yea but three new ones open, when one goes out of business ;)

Not as of late. I have never seen it so bad in my end of it.

06-21-2008, 05:39 PM
Jim...I think I had that pamphlet.....in the house in Odessa Irina wanted to grow flowers....and we owned the patch of land behind the house that was formerly an alley, so we had about 4 meters away from the house...so we made a 6 x 6 vestibule for three doors, the original from the house to the outside, added one into the green house, then back to the outside alleyway.....we could only dig down 5 feet because of the building foundations, but I put in cement and two rows of cement blocks for walls, 24 inches thick aoround the base, then 2 x 6 walls and rafters. The winters get harsh there....we put glass on the outside, and 7 mil plastic liner inside, then had to add a couple of fans for ventilation.....we also used an example in the foxfire books. I was only there one winter after it was built, and it worked perfectly....she had a few plants of herbs and tomatoes, but a gazillion flowers. She had a "bush" that actually had small bananas growing on it...

06-21-2008, 10:39 PM
Down here in Sussex, there are several veggies that do well during a mild winter. Planted turnips in Oct, had fresh, if small, turnips all winter. Will have a good sized cold frame this winter, so will have salad greens and the like, too. Some things need too much daylight to bloom and set fruit in the winter, IIRC, but a greenhouse is still on my list of things to add to the yard.
Chuck, how log will your battery back-up run your freezer? What's your present take on the printed thin-film solar cells? I'm considering a Lister clone diesel generator. It would run on WVO or #2 heating oil quite well, and some have supposedly run for thousands of hours on oil changes and minor adjustments.

06-22-2008, 12:35 AM
We are already eating grass soup, and tree bark here. Made a nice stew out of shoe leather (Red Wings) last night. It's gonna get better before it gets worse is what I'm hearing. Peoples is gonna be eatin' bugs and Lizzards before we're done. And good lord on top of all this, Tim Russert died.