Why Is The World’s Greatest Agricultural Country
Facing A Food Shortage?
by David Reavill
The second line of that great national anthem, America the Beautiful, extols those “amber waves of grain.” Wheat stretching from Kansas to Oklahoma. It was wheat that produced abundance and fed generations of America.
Today, as we have been every year since World War II, America has been the greatest Agricultural country on the planet. Our farmlands are the wonder of the world.
Although we currently rank only 4th in Wheat production, we make up for that in Corn Production, producing a third more corn than number two China. And that with just one-quarter of the population of China.
Chicken? We produce more broilers than any other country. And it isn’t even close.
As for cattle, we’ll the US produces fully one-fifth of the world’s cattle each year. Want a world-class steak? Go to Dallas or Omaha.
So how do we keep hearing of possible food shortages in this the most extraordinary Agricultural Country?
I live in Pennsylvania Farm Country, so I thought I’d take a drive and talk to some folks and see what’s happening on America’s Farms right now.
First, you’ll notice that the corn crop is mighty puny. By now, the corn is usually up to my waist and that deep green color. But not this year. This year much of the corn is barely above ankle height and pale and sickly looking.
Now, not all the corn is that poor. One farmer lives next to the Land of Lakes Milk Farm. Home to a lot of nitrogen-rich fertilizer producers. His corn looks terrific, thanks to those milk cows.
But by my estimate, about a third of our corn crop looks very poor.
And that’s all the result of the Ukraine debacle. A diplomatic miscalculation began in Washington and is working its way out here on the Pennsylvania Farms.
I remind you that President Biden initiated this boycott of Russian Fertilizers. Fertilizers that we dearly need right now. And without those Fertilizers, we get sickly corn.
Russia isn’t the only part of this story. What about Ukraine. Ukraine is also a massive producer of fertilizers. But none of it is reaching American Farmers.
Why not? You mean, Mr. President, we can send Ukraine $41 billion in guns and ammo, but they can’t send us fertilizer?
Corn is one of the principal feed crops for cattle and other high-protein animals, as well as pork, chicken, and lamb. And corn is a pretty good vegetable for us two-legged animals as well.
But this year, 40% of our corn crop will get pumped into our cars Corn-based Ethanol will get mixed with gasoline in some vain attempt to lower pollution.
Begun 30 years or more to support farmers with an over-abundance of corn. However, it looks like we’re running short on corn this year.
Mr. President, turn off the ethanol for gasoline.
Instead, use corn to produce feed for our animals and food for us.
I’ve noticed that you’re very good at writing those Executive Orders. Here’s one that could do the country some good right now. Turn off the corn-based ethanol. Do it by Executive Order.
Would you like to know where a lot of our corn ends up? It goes to China of all places. That’s right, the number two producer of corn worldwide is buying all the corn and other grains, wheat, etc., from us. Now, this might have been a good idea when President Trump entered into the agreement. But it most definitely is not a good idea today.
With the very real specter of shortage hanging over our country, this agreement should be abrogated immediately. And Mr. President just thinks it would be another Trump proposal you could veto. Stop the overseas grain shipment until our own food picture clears up.
Finally, here is a way to set America back on the right track. When I was a young man, the USA had vast corn and grain reserves. The Federal Government provided silos across the nation to store extra food products. And in fact, this storage provided relief during several hurricanes in the 1960s. Unfortunately, under President Clinton, these storage facilities were shut down.
It is time to reopen those programs. Bring back the food storage silos. It would go a long way to avoiding catastrophe.
Food is our most vital resource. It’s time we managed our food supply better.
So, here are four steps to aid our current situation.
1. Get fertilizers from Ukraine
2. Stop burning corn-based ethanol in our cars
3. Halt corn and wheat export agreements at least until our own crops come in.
4. Consider rebuilding the old food storage facilities.
Put these four steps together, and they would go a long way toward securing our food supplies this harvest season.
One of the most interesting economic measures released each month is the Conference Board Leading Economic Index. The Conference Board is a premier business organization that has been producing this measure of future economic activity for a very long time.
Right now, the Conference Board is a little out of phase with some of the other Leading indicators. For instance, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development also has an LEI. This measure of future activity started to point down nearly a year ago.
The Conference Board’s measure has remained steady. With an indication of moderate US Growth ahead. Now two of their principal components in compiling this index are Initial Claims for Unemployment and Building Permits. Both of which were reported yesterday. And both of which were very negative.
I’m looking for a drop in today’s Conference Board LEI. And if that turns out to be the case, it would be yet another bearish sign for Wall Street. The Conference Board is followed by the more conservative, long-term investors like insurance companies and major trustees.
In overnight economic news, the European Union is reporting that inflation is still soaring. For the first time ever, the EU reports that inflation topped 8% last month.
In just a few minutes, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will speak for the first time since their big rate hike on Wednesday. No doubt the Chairman will be trying to soothe these troubled financial waters.
Then later in the morning, we will see the latest production numbers. Expected to show a sharp decline in both industrial and manufacturing production.
There are no major earnings reports today.