Surplus U.S. Food Supplies Dry Up

Our cupboard is bare. —Mark Keenum, USDA Undersecretary

HOLLY NOTE: We have posted articles continuously for the past year detailing depletion of US and global grain reserves to record lows, grain thefts in Kansas, food shortages, rising food prices and resulting food riots, in hopes that you are getting this message: As tough as it might be right now, this is definitely the time to purchase significant food stocks. If you have missed any of these articles, please check the Food & Water ARKives for 2008 and 2007. This issue is too vital for you not to get the entire picture.

Photo: This farmland along the Embarras River in southern Illinois flooded Tuesday when a levee broke. (Lawrence County Emergency Management Agency via AP)

The Midwest is at the heart of our wheat and corn production. All it will take is one bad drought or major flood to ruin crops. Though North Dakota expects improvement, for the past 8 months it has experienced the worst drought ever – and now possibly a global drought – certainly in Australia, and our food supplies will take a serious hit. Extreme flooding like the Midwest has seen since March including along the Mississippi are wiping out food crops. Iowa and Indiana see no end in sight likening it to the floods of '93. With escalating fuel costs going possibly to $150/barrel or possibly $200/barrel, there will come a point when truckers are unable to make a living and simply have to shut down.

Daily news address rampant concerns over rice, wheat, corn and soybean shortages. And now food rationing and hoarding is creeping into reality... There's good reason – we have no surplus. Zip.

It's not enough that a portion of our grains goes to biofuel, tenuous crops are further impacted by a higher global demand for grain-based foods on dinner tables. Flooding and drought are decimating America's remaining crops.

Stock up now - buy in bulk - and pack for long-term storage any grain products and foods you regularly consume. It's easy, it's great insurance and will save you loads of money in the long run. The longer you delay, prices are only going to escalate, your options will dwindle, along with selection. Please do this before your options close.

When reading news articles, it is our hope you'll read beyond the headlines and hear the unspoken message - a quiet urging to prepare.

Weather Adds to Challenge of Combating Food Shortages
Florida Tomato Industry in "Complete Collapse"
Global Food Supply is a Growing Problem
The Biblical Grain Famine
Nine Meals From Anarchy - How Britain is Facing a Very Real Food Crisis
Unprecedented Demand Cleans Out Major Storable Food Supplier
High Food Prices - Just Another Bad Day in the Food Line
Snapshots of Struggle in America's Food Lines
Food Riots are Coming to the US
Are You Watching the Food Riots?
New Breed of American Emerges in Need of Food
US Hit By Rising Food Prices
UK Food Prices Rising at Fastest Ever
The Four Horsemen Approach - Famine is in the Air
Global Famine
More Fears for World Food Supply
UK Food Prices are Soaring at Fastest Rate for 18 Months
Tens of Thousands Riot Over Food Prices

Surplus U.S. Food Supplies Dry Up
Emptying the Breadbasket
Chance of US Drought Seen; Food Squeeze Feared
Mississippi River Flooding Dooms Farmers

The New Economics of Hunger
Load Up the Pantry
Americans Hoard Food As Industry Seeks Regs
Sam's Club, Costco Limit Rice Purchases Nationwide
Let Them Eat Cake: Famine and Revolution Go Hand in Hand
Japan's Hunger Becomes a Dire Warning for Other Nations
Food Rationing Confronts Breadbasket of the World
UN Chief Warns World Must Urgently Increase Food Production

Already We Have Riots, Hoarding, Panic: the Sign of Things
A Global Need for Grain That Farms Can’t Fill
Surging costs of Groceries Hitting Home

Wheat Supplies, Already Tight, May Be Hurt by Global Drought
FAO Sees Record World Food Prices Staying
Forget Oil, the New Global Crisis is Food
Food Inflation and Food Shortages
Food ... and How It's Going to Change the World

Potential Drought Predicted for Iowa and What That Means for Food Supplies
Food Prices to Continue to Climb in 2008
Tight Supply May Hit Grain Stability
Fears Over Food Price Inflation
Australian Food Prices to Skyrocket
Saudi Food Prices Seen Up 30% in '08
US Farms Data Feed Cereal Price Hike Fears
Grains Likely to be More Volatile
‘Panic Buying’ in the Grain Markets

May 2, 2008
By Sue Kirchhoff
USA Today

WASHINGTON — Torrential rains and flooding in the Midwest could soon mean consumers face even higher prices for meat, eggs, dairy and other foods.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday slashed its estimate for the volume of this year's corn crop because of wet and flooded fields, prompting corn prices to surge to new records on Chicago futures exchanges. Contracts for July delivery hit $6.73 a bushel, with prices for later months soaring above $7.25 per bushel, more than double 2006 levels.

Photo: An official at a farmers' cooperative watches as corn is unloaded at an Iowa distribution center last year. Surplus stores of such crops are increasingly rare. (By Bryan Ray for USA Today)

Cattle futures prices also rose as traders bet producers would reduce herds — and future meat supply — in the face of mounting feed prices.

"There are some low-lying fields that will take some time to dry out," says Ron Litterer, an Iowa farmer who is president of the National Corn Growers Association. "If we get some decent weather, we can still get a decent crop, though it's appearing we're not going to have a bumper crop."

Decent weather isn't on the horizon. Heavy rain is forecast for the Midwest later this week. Already, parts of southern Indiana, Illinois and Missouri have endured the wettest spring on record, according to data from the National Climatic Data Center. Records date back to 1894.

In Waterloo, Iowa, for example, rainfall from March 1 through June 10 has been 24.5 inches, vs. an average for the period of 10.9, inches, according to the National Weather Service.

The Agriculture Department said sodden conditions have hurt planting and potential crop yields. It now expects U.S. farmers to harvest 10% less corn this year than in 2007. Growers are expected to produce an 11.7 billion-bushel crop. Carryover stocks could be the lowest since 1996.

"It's bad," says Joe Victor of commodities firm Allendale, who said about 20% of the Midwest corn crop was underwater after last weekend's storms.

By historical standards, the 2008 corn crop would still be large. The problem, says Tom Jackson, senior economist at Global Insight, is that the nation now needs nearly perfect harvests to meet export demand, domestic livestock and food use and surging ethanol production. The ethanol industry will use 4 billion bushels of corn this year, up from 3 billion last year.

Consumers, already facing the highest food inflation since 1990, will feel an impact. Corn is not only a main livestock feed but is used in a huge array of processed foods from corn syrup in soft drinks to filler in chicken nuggets. Consumer food inflation has run at a 6.9% annual rate this year, after jumping 4.9% in 2007. Earlier in the decade, food inflation averaged 2.5%.

"It's (corn) the major cash crop in the United States … it has a big impact on food inflation," says Michael Swanson of Wells Fargo Economics.

Livestock producers and food processors want Congress to cut ethanol mandates to ease corn prices.