The United States Department of Agriculture has declared natural disaster areas in more than 1,000 counties and 26 drought-stricken states, making it the largest natural disaster in America ever.
The declaration—which covers roughly half of the country—gives farmers and ranchers devastated by drought access to federal aid, including low-interest emergency loans. All over America the corn is dying. If drought conditions persist in the middle part of the country, wheat and soybeans will be next. Weeks of intense heat combined with extraordinarily dry conditions have brought many U.S. corn farmers to the brink of total disaster.
Despite early predictions of a record maize (corn) crop, estimates have plummeted after a string of record-high temperature days and dry conditions stretching across the farm states of the U.S. Midwest. “We need rain, and it doesn’t look like we’re going to get it,” says Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes.
The most recent forecast—for parts of Idaho, Wyoming and Montana are under warnings for dry storms that could spark new fires, CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said Wednesday. The National Weather Service issued “red flag warnings” for these areas for the third day in a row. That means there are likely to be storms in which the only thing that reaches the ground is the lightning, Myers said. Most or all of the rain evaporates on the way down, leaving the lightning to strike the hot, dry earth.
“We are really on a razor’s edge as far as moisture goes,” said Richard Oswald who farms in northwest Missouri. “We need rain pretty quick.” Farmers and agronomists throughout Missouri and north into top producer Iowa said soybeans were starting to show white spots and other signs of distress, while corn was wilting away in many fields.
The extreme heat and drought conditions are hitting the core of the U.S. Midwest just as the region’s big corn crop pollinates, the key yield-determining growth phase for corn. Drought conditions intensified the past week across the central United States, causing irrevocable damage to crops in Missouri, Indiana and even southern Illinois, where farmers are cutting stunted corn for silage, a low-grade feed for cattle.
Few people want to know that “The U.S. may be in for very hard times in the near future. Some economists are predicting financial collapse as catastrophic as the Great Depression. With a significant number of people now living in cities, far away from their food sources, one may be left to wonder if the degree of famine this time around may result in the starvation of the roughly 240 million Americans who are incapable of growing their own food.” Seems farfetched but these words were just published in the mainstream.
The worst Midwest drought in a quarter century is doing more damage to U.S. crops than previously expected with the government this past Wednesday slashing its estimate for what was supposed to be a record harvest. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said the corn crop will average just 146 bushels an acre, down 20 bushels an acre from its June estimate and a much more dramatic drop than analysts had projected.
The report initially re-ignited a near-record rally in grain prices that will hit consumer grocery bills hard not only in North America but around the world. The severe scaling back of the harvest has sent corn and soybean prices up by more than a third over the past month and the situation is deteriorating day by day.
The USDA reduced its forecast for corn ending stocks—the amount of grain still in bins at the end of next summer before the new harvest—by 37% from last month, more than the 32% reduction expected.
“There are a lot of people thinking of chopping their corn up and feeding it to cows,” said University of Missouri Professor of Plant Sciences William Wiebold. “The attitude is not real good right now. For some farmers the crop is already gone. The longer we go without rain the more farmers will be in that situation.”
The condition of the U.S. corn crop has deteriorated quickly after record fast planting buoyed hopes of a bumper crop this fall in the world’s largest exporter of grains. Crop ratings have fallen to their lowest level in 24 years, with the U.S. Agriculture Department’s most recent estimate pegging the crop as just 40% good to excellent.
“According to AccuWeather.com Agricultural Meteorologists, you can’t raise a corn crop with less than an inch of rain over six weeks combined with 100-degree and higher temperatures. However, these conditions have taken place in much of the southern Corn Belt through the week of July 4, 2012.”
Since 75% of grocery store products use corn as a key ingredient, expect food prices to skyrocket. Corn is also a staple in many processed and fast foods. Corn is in ethanol and is the main food source for chickens. In addition to this, corn (or maize) is in many things that aren’t obvious like adhesives, aluminum, aspirin, clothing starch, cosmetics, cough syrup, dry cell batteries, envelopes, fiberglass insulation, gelatin capsules, ink, insecticides, paint, penicillin, powders, rugs and carpets, stamps, talcum, toothpaste, wallpaper, and vitamins.
Food is hard to live without. We all tend to take it for granted that our local supermarket will continue to offer whatever we wish, in abundance at affordable prices. Yet living without adequate food is the growing prospect facing hundreds of millions, if not billions. The situation is crashing down on us like an avalanche because of the drought that is affecting almost 60% of Americans. Our present corn crop is wilting and day-by-day the yield estimates are collapsing, meaning a lot of people around the world are going to go hungry.
Between April 2010 and April 2011, the average world price of grain soared by 71%: not a very big deal for people in rich countries who spend less than 10% of their incomes on food, but a catastrophe for poor people who already spend more than half their money just to keep their families fed. The world has been just a misstep away from a food disaster and that misstep is knocking at our door.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) estimates that since 2004, world food prices on average have soared by an unprecedented 240% even as income for most people has declined. Predictably we have seen a rapid rise in starvation, hunger and malnutrition in poorer populations around the world. The FAO calculates that food-deficit countries will be forced to spend fully 30% more on importing food—with a world value of a staggering $1.3 trillion and that was before this year’s severe drought that seems to only get worse.
Mother Nature is turning really aggressive and is wiping out food production all over the globe with floods, drought, record heat, cold, hail, pestilence, declining soil nutrition and disappearing or polluted water resources. World food stocks are tightening and governments have to buy food for hundreds of millions with financial resources they no longer have.
Remember Revelation’s 3rd and 4th Horsemen of the Apocalypse? It is the prophecy of famine and horrendous inflation so severe that people don’t have enough money to buy food. Are we getting what we deserve? We have made so many mistakes and continue to make them without regard to consequences. People are walking around oblivious to what is happening on so many fronts and are still happy to eat their Big Macs and go shopping at the mall pretending everything is going to be just fine. Few are preparing not only because of the lack of financial resources but because they see no reason or need for it.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock reacted quite strongly months ago to the idea that there will be no food at any price and I think he is going to have to eat his words. “The global agriculture supply situation has worsened and a failure to boost food production fast enough to meet demand may lead to shortages,” said investor Jim Rogers, chairman of Rogers Holdings almost a year ago. “We’ve got to do something or we’re going to have no food at any price at times in the next few years,” Rogers said in a Bloomberg Television interview with Rishaad Salamat in Singapore.
Special Note—my recommendations for survival food have always included superfoods like spirulina, chlorella, honey, wheatgrass and barley juice and of course my favorite superfood formula called Rejuvenate because it includes all of the necessary elements for our survival and tastes great mixed with any fruit or vegetable juice and even water. The most intelligent thing you can do is to stock up on whatever you can while you can.