Food

Why Meat Prices Are Going To Continue Soaring For The Foreseeable Future

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Source: http://endoftheamericandream.com

By Michael Snyder

Why Meat Prices Are Going To Continue Soaring For The Foreseeable Future

 

Drought-Monitor-April-1-300x231The average price of USDA choice-grade beef has soared to $5.28 a pound, and the average price of a pound of bacon has skyrocketed to $5.46.  Unfortunately for those that like to eat meat, this is just the beginning of the price increases.  Due to an absolutely crippling drought that won’t let go of the western half of the country, the total size of the U.S. cattle herd has shrunk for seven years in a row, and it is now the smallest that is has been since 1951.  But back in 1951, we had less than half the number of mouths to feed.  And a devastating pig virus that has never been seen in the United States before has already killed up to 6 million pigs in this country and continues to spread like wildfire.  What all of this means is that the supply of meat is going to be tight for the foreseeable future even as demand for meat continues to go up.  This is going to result in much higher prices, and so food is going to put a much larger dent in American family budgets in the months and years to come.

One year ago, the average price of USDA choice-grade beef was $4.91.  Now it is up to $5.28, and the Los Angeles Times says that we should not expect prices to come down “any time soon”…

Come grilling season, expect your sirloin steak to come with a hearty side of sticker shock.
 
Beef prices have reached all-time highs in the U.S. and aren’t expected to come down any time soon.
 
Extreme weather has thinned the nation’s beef cattle herds to levels last seen in 1951, when there were about half as many mouths to feed in America.
 
We’ve seen strong prices before but nothing this extreme,” said Dennis Smith, a commodities broker for Archer Financial Services in Chicago. This is really new territory.

The outlook for pork is even worse.  The price of bacon is 13 percent higher than it was a year ago, and porcine epidemic diarrhea is absolutely devastating the U.S. pig population

A virus never before seen in the U.S. has killed millions of baby pigs in less than a year, and with little known about how it spreads or how to stop it, it’s threatening pork production and pushing up prices by 10 percent or more.
 
Scientists think porcine epidemic diarrhea, which does not infect humans or other animals, came from China, but they don’t know how it got into the country or spread to 27 states since last May.

It is estimated that up to 6 million pigs may have died already, and it is being projected that U.S. pork production could be down by 7 percent this year.  That would be the largest decline in more than 30 years.

But even if someone brought an end to this pig virus tomorrow, we would still be facing a very serious food crisis in this nation.

The reason for this is the multi-year drought which is crippling farming and ranching in much of the western half of the country.

As you can see from the latest U.S. Drought Monitor update, the drought shows no signs of letting up…

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Hopefully this drought will end soon.

But I wouldn’t count on it.

In fact, CBS News recently interviewed one scientist that says that the state of California could potentially be facing “a century-long megadrought“…

Scientist Lynn Ingram, author of “The West without Water: What Past Floods, Droughts, and Other Climatic Clues Tell Us about Tomorrow,” uses sediment cores inside tubes to study the history of drought in the West.
 
“We’ve taken this record back about 3,000 years,” Ingram says.
 
That record shows California is in one of its driest periods since 1580.
 
While a three-to-five-year drought is often thought of as being a long drought, Ingram says history shows they can be much longer.
 
If we go back several thousand years, we’ve seen that droughts can last over a decade, and in some cases, they can last over a century,” she says.

So what will we do if this drought just keeps going and going and going?

As the article quoted above noted, last century was far wetter than usual.  During that time, we built teeming cities in the desert and we farmed vast areas that are usually bone dry…

Scientists say their research shows the 20th century was one of the wettest centuries in the past 1,300 years. During that time, we built massive dams and rerouted rivers. We used abundant water to build major cities and create a $45 billion agriculture industry in a place that used to be a desert.

So what happens if the western half of the country returns to “normal”?

What will we do then?

Meanwhile, drought is devastating many other very important agricultural areas around the world as well.  For example, the horrible drought in Brazil could soon send the price of coffee through the roof

Coffee futures prices are up more than 75 percent this year due to a lack of appreciable rain in the coffee growing region of eastern Brazil during January and February, which are critical months for plant development, according to the International Coffee Organization, a London-based trade group.

At this point, 142 Brazilian cities are rationing water, and it wouldn’t just be coffee that would be affected by this drought.  As a recent RT article explained, Brazil is one of the leading exporters in a number of key agricultural categories…

Over 140 Brazilian cities have been pushed to ration water during the worst drought on record, according to a survey conducted by the country’s leading newspaper. Some neighborhoods only receive water once every three days.
 
Water is being rationed to nearly 6 million people living in a total of 142 cities across 11 states in Brazil, the world’s leading exporter of soybeans, coffee, orange juice, sugar and beef. Water supply companies told the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper that the country’s reservoirs, rivers and streams are the driest they have been in 20 years. A record heat wave could raise energy prices and damage crops.
 
Some neighborhoods in the city of Itu in Sao Paulo state (which accounts for one-quarter of Brazil’s population and one-third of its GDP), only receive water once every three days, for a total of 13 hours.

Most people just assume that we will always have massive quantities of cheap, affordable food in our supermarkets.

But just because that has been the case for as long as most of us can remember, that does not mean that it will always be true.

Times are changing, and food prices are already starting to move upward aggressively.

Yes, let us hope for the best, but let us also prepare for the worst.

This article first appeared here at the The American Dream.  Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.

 

 

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Image credit: http://endoftheamericandream.com
 

School Science Project Reveals High Levels Of Fukushima Nuclear Radiation in Grocery Store Seafood

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Source: http://thetruthwins.com

By Michael Snyder

School Science Project Reveals High Levels Of Fukushima Nuclear Radiation in Grocery Store Seafood

 

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A Canadian high school student named Bronwyn Delacruz never imagined that her school science project would make headlines all over the world.  But that is precisely what has happened.  Using a $600 Geiger counter purchased by her father, Delacruz measured seafood bought at local grocery stores for radioactive contamination.  What she discovered was absolutely stunning.  Much of the seafood, particularly the products that were made in China, tested very high for radiation.  So is this being caused by nuclear radiation from Fukushima?  Is the seafood that we are eating going to give us cancer and other diseases?  The American people deserve the truth, but as you will see below, the U.S. and Canadian governments are not even testing imported seafood for radiation.  To say that this is deeply troubling would be a massive understatement.

In fact, what prompted Bronwyn Delacruz to conduct her science project was the fact that the Canadian government stopped testing imported seafood for radiation in 2012

Alberta high-school student Bronwyn Delacruz loves sushi, but became concerned last summer after learning how little food inspection actually takes place on some of its key ingredients.
 
The Grade 10 student from Grande Prairie said she was shocked to discover that, in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) stopped testing imported foods for radiation in 2012.

And what should be a major red flag for authorities is the fact that the seafood with the highest radiation is coming from China

Armed with a $600 Geiger counter bought by her dad, Delacruz studied a variety of seafoods – particularly seaweeds – as part of an award-winning science project that she will take to a national fair next month.
 
“Some of the kelp that I found was higher than what the International Atomic Energy Agency sets as radioactive contamination, which is 1,450 counts over a 10-minute period,” she said. “Some of my samples came up as 1,700 or 1,800.
 
Delacruz said the samples that “lit up” the most were products from China that she bought in local grocery stores.

It is inexcusable that the Canadian government is not testing this seafood.  It isn’t as if they don’t know that it is radioactive.  Back in 2012, the Vancouver Sun reported that cesium-137 was being found in a very high percentage of the fish that Japan was selling to Canada…

• 73 percent of the mackerel

• 91 percent of the halibut

• 92 percent of the sardines

• 93 percent of the tuna and eel

• 94 percent of the cod and anchovies

• 100 percent of the carp, seaweed, shark and monkfish

So why was radiation testing for seafood shut down in Canada in 2012?

Someone out there needs to answer some very hard questions.

Meanwhile, PBS reporter Miles O’Brien has pointed out the extreme negligence of the U.S. government when it comes to testing seafood for Fukushima radiation.  The following comes from a recent EcoWatch article

O’Brien also introduces us to scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute who have been testing waters around the reactors—as well as around the Pacific Rim—to confirm the levels of Fukushima fallout, especially of cesium.
 
These scientists are dedicated and competent. But they are also being forced to do this investigation on their own, raising small amounts of money from independent sources. They were, explains lead scientist Ken Buesseler, turned down for even minimal federal support by five agencies key to our radiation protection. Thus, despite a deep and widespread demand for this information, no federal agency is conducting comprehensive, on-the-ground analyses of how much Fukushima radiation has made its way into our air and oceans.
 
In fact, very soon after Fukushima began to blow, President Obama assured the world that radiation coming to the U.S. would be minuscule and harmless. He had no scientific proof that this would be the case. And as O’Brien’s eight-minute piece shows all too clearly, the “see no evil, pay no damages” ethos is at work here. The government is doing no monitoring of radiation levels in fish, and information on contamination of the ocean is almost entirely generated by underfunded researchers like Buesseler.

video news report in which O’Brien discusses these issues is posted below…

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It is the job of the authorities to keep us safe, and the Fukushima nuclear disaster was the worst nuclear disaster in human history.

So why aren’t they doing testing?

Why aren’t they checking to make sure that this radiation is not getting into our food chain?

The Japanese are doing testing off the coast of Japan, and one fish that was recently caught off the coast of the Fukushima prefecture was discovered to have 124 times the safe level of radioactive cesium.

So why are all the authorities in North America just assuming that the fish are going to be perfectly fine on this side of the Pacific?

One test that was conducted in California discovered that 15 out of 15 Bluefin tuna were contaminated with radiation from Fukushima.

So how can the authorities say “don’t worry, just eat the seafood”?

Everyone agrees that a plume of radioactive water has been moving from Fukushima toward the west coast of the United States.

According to researchers at the University of South Wales, that plume is going to hit our shores at some point during 2014…

The first radioactive ocean plume released by the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster will finally be reaching the shores of the United States some time in 2014, according to a new study from the University of New South Wales — a full three or so years after the date of the disaster.

The following graphic comes from that study…

Fukushima-Radiation-University-Of-New-South-Wales-450x211

And multiple independent tests have already confirmed that levels of nuclear radiation are being detected on California beaches that are more than 10 times the normal level.

Clearly something is happening.

So why are the U.S. and Canadian governments willingly looking the other way?


This article first appeared here at The Truth.

About the author: Michael T. Snyder is a former Washington D.C. attorney who now publishes The Truth. His new thriller entitled “The Beginning Of The End” is now available on Amazon.com.

 

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Image credit: http://thetruthwins.com
 

How Pizza Hut Is Preparing for the Coming Hikes in the Minimum Wage

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Source: http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com

By

How Pizza Hut Is Preparing for the Coming Hikes in the Minimum Wage

 

Super cool automation that will replace high cost waiters, waitresses and cashiers.

 

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Screen capture of pizzahut produced video added to Bob’s original post.

 

31 Percent Of All Food In America Is Wasted – And Why That Is About To End

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Source: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com

By Michael Snyder

31 Percent Of All Food In America Is Wasted – And Why That Is About To End

 

Burger-And-Fries-Photo-by-Ewan-Munro-300x300According to a stunning new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nearly a third of all food produced in the United States gets wasted.  We are probably the most wasteful society in the history of the planet, and we are also one of the most gluttonous.  More than 35 percent of all Americans are considered to be officially “obese” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Unfortunately, this era of gluttony and taking food for granted will soon be coming to an end.  Thanks to crippling drought in key growing areas and other extremely bizarre weather patterns, a massive food crisis is beginning to emerge all over the planet.  If you don’t think that this is going to affect you, then you simply are not paying attention.  Approximately half of all produce grown in the United States comes from the state of California, and right now California is suffering through the worst stretch of drought on record.  Food prices are going to start soaring, and that is going to affect the household budget of every family in America.

Needless to say, a time is coming when Americans will not waste food so recklessly.  But for the moment, we still have a tremendous amount of disrespect for the value of food.  According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we waste a staggering 133 billion pounds of food each year

Nearly a third of the 430 billion pounds of food produced for Americans to eat is wasted, a potential catastrophe for landfills and a wake-up call to officials scrambling to feed the hungry, according to a stunning new report from the Department of Agriculture.
 
The just-issued report revealed that in 2010, 31 percent, or 133 billion pounds, of food produced for Americans to eat was wasted, either molded or improperly cooked, suffered “natural shrinkage” due to moisture loss, or because people became disinterested in what they purchased.

Not that we need to stuff any more food into our mouths.  As I mentioned above, we have an epidemic of obesity in this nation.  In fact, the CDC says that 35 percent of the entire population is “obese”…

Meanwhile, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of US adults (35.7 percent) are obese, which is perhaps the best argument that Americans can offset a large part of the food waste problem by simply eating less. The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the US was $147 billion in 2008; the costs of providing medical assistance for individuals who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight, thereby placing an enormous strain on healthcare costs.

Since we are such gluttons and we are so incredibly wasteful, we should have plenty of food to share with those in need, right?

Unfortunately, we are also extremely greedy and greatly lacking in compassion.

As I have written about previously, feeding the homeless has been banned in cities all over the nation, and other cities have passed regulations that greatly discourage the feeding of the homeless

Feeding the homeless is about to get harder as a new policy is set to begin this Saturday, Feb. 15, in Columbia, SC. Charities and non-profits will be required to pay a fee and obtain a permit 15 days in advance in order to feed the homeless in parks.
 
One impacted charity that was interviewed by the Free Times, Food Not Bombs, has been serving food to the homeless in Finlay Park every Sunday for 12 years. The group’s organizer, Judith Turnipseed, noted that the group has an impeccable track record and always tidies up after the meal. But with the new crackdown, Food Not Bombs will have to pay at least $120 per week for the right to feed the homeless.
 
Since the Columbia City Council approved its exile plan in August, the city has been trying to herd its homeless people to a shelter on the outskirts of town and keep them away from downtown. If charities continue to provide food in downtown parks, the thinking goes, it will allow homeless people to continue to live downtown, rather than being forced to leave.

What is wrong with us?

While we stuff our faces with more french fries and chicken wings, we have an appalling lack of compassion for those that are not able to take care of themselves.

Perhaps we deserve what is coming.

The horrible drought that never seems to end is rapidly turning much of the western half of the country into a barren wasteland.

You can see some incredible before and after photos of the drought in California right here.

The water level in Folsom Lake has dropped 80 percent in just two years.  In 2011, the lake was at 97 percent of capacity.  Now it is just at 17 percent of capacity and it is still dropping.

If a miracle does not happen, the upcoming growing season is going to be absolutely disastrous.  As I have written about previously, California farmers have already decided to allow half a million acres of farmland to sit idle this year because of the extremely dry conditions.

And it certainly does not help that the government has decided to cut off water supplies to many of the farmers.  The following is an excerpt from a recent article by Holly Deyo

Government has lost its mind. It is no more evident than their decision last week to cut off water to America’s food basket. Squeezed by the worst-ever drought in the state’s history, California is dying of thirst. Crushing news was delivered to farmer’s that no water would be coming from the Federal government. This dreaded decision was compounded by the Sierra Mountains getting just 25% of normal snowpack. There is no water to replenish already dangerously low reservoirs, so no water for farmers.

Needless to say, there are a lot of farmers that are going to be absolutely crippled by this.  The following is from Fox News

A federal agency’s recent announcement that the California’s Central Valley will get zero percent water allocation this year was devastating for farmers already dealing with the worst drought seen in decades.
 
One of the world’s most productive agricultural regions, the enormous valley is reeling after the driest year in more than a century. But last week, the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, which supplies water to a third of the irrigated farmland in California through a 500-mile network of canals and tunnel, said it won’t be able to deliver any of the water sought by farmers.
 
“It goes beyond devastation, you’re going to see farms that have been in business 30 and 40 years, they do not have any water, they are out of business,” said Dennis Falaschi, general manager of the Panoche Water District.

If California produces much less food than it normally does, that means that food prices are going to start skyrocketing.  Here is more from Holly Deyo

As one Millennium-Ark reader pointed out in an email last week, after the jump in beef prices, people will look to chicken, pork, fish and turkey. Chicken is already up though not as much as beef.  This will, in turn, drive up their costs and affect availability of these other meats. Keep in mind that California also produces all of these proteins plus lamb. Then consider this: Ag Specialists Warn of Higher Wheat Prices Due to Drought. It’s not just beef, weather is clobbering food from all angles.

And please keep in mind that the total size of the U.S. cattle herd has already been shrinking for seven years in a row, and that it is now the smallest that it has been since 1951.

But back in 1951, the size of the U.S. population was less than half of what it is today.

For much more on the emerging food crisis, please see this video.

Let us certainly hope and pray that the drought in California ends soon and that things get back to normal.

But I wouldn’t count on that.

According to National Geographic, the scientific experts that have studied these things tell us that it has been quite common throughout history for that region of North America to suffer through extended droughts that last for a decade or more.

One drought even lasted for about 200 years.

So the current drought in California might end next year.

Or it might last for the rest of our lifetimes.

We simply do not know.

But what does seem clear is that the days of taking our food for granted will soon be coming to an end.

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This article first appeared here at the Economic Collapse Blog.  Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.

 

 

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Hot Pockets Recalls 8 Million Pounds of Meat Due to “Diseased and Unsound Animals”

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Source: http://libertyblitzkrieg.com

By Michael Krieger

Hot Pockets Recalls 8 Million Pounds of Meat Due to “Diseased and Unsound Animals”

 

Last year saw a great number of widely publicized instances of food fraud and general nastiness when it came to the various items many of us regularly put in our bodies. From “fake tuna,” to rat meat in the streets of Shanghai, to alcohol in New Jersey diluted with “river water,” the list was seemingly endless.

While 2014 has been off to a slow start, it appears the corporate food industry in America is trying to make up for lost time. According to a news release from the USDA on Valentine’s Day titled: “California Firm Recalls Unwholesome Meat Products Produced Without the Benefit of Full Inspection,” we discover that:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 14, 2014 – Rancho Feeding Corporation, a Petaluma, Calif. establishment, is recalling approximately 8,742,700 pounds, because it processed diseased and unsound animals and carried out these activities without the benefit or full benefit of federal inspection. Thus, the products are adulterated, because they are unsound, unwholesome or otherwise are unfit for human food and must be removed from commerce, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

Oh, and by the way, this is a Class I recall. What does that mean?

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Basically if you live California, Florida, Illinois, Oregon, Texas and Washington you should stay away from Hot Pockets.

Scratch that. You should stay away from Hot Pockets no matter where you live. Forever.

Full USDA release here.

Follow Mike on Twitter.

Dark Secrets of Artificial Sweeteners Revealed with Mike Adams

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Dark Secrets of Artificial Sweeteners Revealed with Mike Adams

 

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Published by NextNewsNetwork

NATION | Could dangerous chemicals be hiding in the foods Americans eat and drink every day? They just may be more common than you think. For thousands of years, people have sweetened food and drinks with honey and sugar. Some people, concerned with calories, use artificial sweeteners, like aspartame. Some early sugar substitutes were found to cause cancer, and have other ill effects on health.

Many critics charge these artificial additives pose dangers of their own. Many people point out unusual ingredients that go into such sweeteners. Splenda, for instance, is manufactured using chlorine. Skeptics say such food additives also play havoc with human metabolism. Aspartame has even been charged with causing brain tumors, heart attacks and seizures.

Mike Adams is known as the Health Ranger. He is an activist for healthy foods. Adams is one of the leading voices in America about the dangers of artificial sweeteners.

Adams is our guest on the show today. We will talk about what is really in the foods we eat every day. We will also discuss the history of the artificial sweetener industry, and health effects of the chemicals. The future of the industry will be covered, and we’ll learn what you can do to ensure better health for yourself and your family.

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15 Reasons Why Your Food Bill Is Going To Start SOARING

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Source: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com

By Michael Snyder

15 Reasons Why Your Food Bill Is Going To Start SOARING

 

U.S.-Drought-Monitor-California-February-11-2014-300x231Did you know that the U.S. state that produces the most vegetables is going through the worst drought it has ever experienced and that the size of the total U.S. cattle herd is now the smallest that it has been since 1951?  Just the other day, a CBS News article boldly declared that “food prices soar as incomes stand still“, but the truth is that this is only just the beginning.  If the drought that has been devastating farmers and ranchers out west continues, we are going to see prices for meat, fruits and vegetables soar into the stratosphere.  Already, the federal government has declared portions of 11 states to be “disaster areas”, and California farmers are going to leave half a million acres sitting idle this year because of the extremely dry conditions.  Sadly, experts are telling us that things are probably going to get worse before they get better (if they ever do).  As you will read about below, one expert recently told National Geographic that throughout history it has been quite common for that region of North America to experience severe droughts that last for decades.  In fact, one drought actually lasted for about 200 years.  So there is the possibility that the drought that has begun in the state of California may not end during your entire lifetime.

This drought has gotten so bad that it is starting to get national attention.  Barack Obama visited the Fresno region on Friday, and he declared that “this is going to be a very challenging situation this year, and frankly, the trend lines are such where it’s going to be a challenging situation for some time to come.”

According to NBC News, businesses across the region are shutting down, large numbers of workers are leaving to search for other work, and things are already so bad that it “calls to mind the Dust Bowl of the 1930s“…

In the state’s Central Valley — where nearly 40 percent of all jobs are tied to agriculture production and related processing — the pain has already trickled down. Businesses across a wide swath of the region have shuttered, casting countless workers adrift in a downturn that calls to mind the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.

If you will recall, there have been warnings that Dust Bowl conditions were going to return to the western half of the country for quite some time.

Now the mainstream media is finally starting to catch up.

And of course these extremely dry conditions are going to severely affect food prices.  The following are 15 reasons why your food bill is going to start soaring…

#1 2013 was the driest year on record for the state of California, and 2014 has been exceptionally dry so far as well.

#2 According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 91.6 percent of the entire state of California is experiencing “severe to exceptional drought” even as you read this article.

#3 According to CNBC, it is being projected that California farmers are going to let half a million acres of farmland sit idle this year because of the crippling drought.

#4 Celeste Cantu, the general manager for the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority, says that this drought could have a “cataclysmic” impact on food prices…

Given that California is one of the largest agricultural regions in the world, the effects of any drought, never mind one that could last for centuries, are huge. About 80 percent of California’s freshwater supply is used for agriculture. The cost of fruits and vegetables could soar, says Cantu. “There will be cataclysmic impacts.”

#5 Mike Wade, the executive director of the California Farm Water Coalition, recently explained which crops he believes will be hit the hardest…

Hardest hit would be such annual row crops as tomatoes, broccoli, lettuce, cantaloupes, garlic, peppers and corn. Wade said consumers can also expect higher prices and reduced selection at grocery stores, particularly for products such as almonds, raisins, walnuts and olives.

#6 As I discussed in a previous article, the rest of the nation is extremely dependent on the fruits and vegetables grown in California.  Just consider the following statistics regarding what percentage of our produce is grown in the state…

-99 percent of the artichokes

-44 percent of asparagus

-two-thirds of carrots

-half of bell peppers

-89 percent of cauliflower

-94 percent of broccoli

-95 percent of celery

-90 percent of the leaf lettuce

-83 percent of Romaine lettuce

-83 percent of fresh spinach

-a third of the fresh tomatoes

-86 percent of lemons

-90 percent of avocados

-84 percent of peaches

-88 percent of fresh strawberries

-97 percent of fresh plums

#7 Of course it isn’t just agriculture which will be affected by this drought.  Just consider this chilling statement by Tim Quinn, the executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies…

“There are places in California that if we don’t do something about it, tens of thousands of people could turn on their water faucets and nothing would come out.”

#8 The Sierra Nevada snowpack is only about 15 percent of what it normally is.  As the New York Times recently explained, this is going to be absolutely devastating for Californians when the warmer months arrive…

Experts offer dire warnings. The current drought has already eclipsed previous water crises, like the one in 1977, which a meteorologist friend, translating into language we understand as historians, likened to the “Great Depression” of droughts. Most Californians depend on the Sierra Nevada for their water supply, but the snowpack there was just 15 percent of normal in early February.

#9 The underground aquifers that so many California farmers depend upon are being drained at a staggering rate

Pumping from aquifers is so intense that the ground in parts of the valley is sinking about a foot a year. Once aquifers compress, they can never fill with water again. It’s no surprise Tom Willey wakes every morning with a lump in his throat. When we ask which farmers will survive the summer, he responds quite simply: those who dig the deepest and pump the hardest.

#10 According to an expert interviewed by National Geographic, the current drought in the state of California could potentially last for 200 years or more as some mega-droughts in the region have done in the past…

California is experiencing its worst drought since record-keeping began in the mid 19th century, and scientists say this may be just the beginning. B. Lynn Ingram, a paleoclimatologist at the University of California at Berkeley, thinks that California needs to brace itself for a megadrought—one that could last for 200 years or more.

#11 Much of the western U.S. has been exceedingly dry for an extended period of time, and this is hurting huge numbers of farmers and ranchers all the way from Texas to the west coast…

The western United States has been in a drought that has been building for more than a decade, according to climatologist Bill Patzert of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
 
“Ranchers in the West are selling off their livestock,” Patzert said. “Farmers all over the Southwest, from Texas to Oregon, are fallowing in their fields because of a lack of water. For farmers and ranchers, this is a painful drought.”

#12 The size of the U.S. cattle herd has been shrinking for seven years in a row, and it is now the smallest that it has been since 1951.  But our population has more than doubled since then.

#13 Extremely unusual weather patterns are playing havoc with crops all over the planet right now.  The following is an excerpt from a recent article by Lizzie Bennett

Peru, Venezuela, and Bolivia have experienced rainfall heavy enough to flood fields and rot crops where they stand. Volcanic eruptions in Ecuador are also creating problems due to cattle ingesting ash with their feed leading to a slow and painful death.
 
Parts of Australia have been in drought for years affecting cattle and agricultural production.
 
Rice production in China has been affected by record low temperatures.
 
Large parts of the UK are underwater, and much of that water is sea water which is poisoning the soil. So wet is the UK that groundwater is so high it is actually coming out of the ground and adding to the water from rivers and the sea. With the official assessment being that groundwater flooding will continue until MAY, and that’s if it doesn’t rain again between now and then. The River Thames is 65 feet higher than normal in some areas, flooding town after town as it heads to the sea.

#14 As food prices rise, our incomes are staying about the same.  The following is from a CBS News article entitled “Food prices soar as incomes stand still“…

While the government says prices are up 6.4 percent since 2011, chicken is up 18.4 percent, ground beef is up 16.8 percent and bacon has skyrocketed up 22.8 percent, making it a holiday when it’s on sale.

#15 As I have written about previously, median household income has fallen for five years in a row.  So average Americans are going to have to make their food budgets stretch more than they ever have before as this drought drags on.

If the drought does continue to get worse, small agricultural towns all over California are going to die off.

For instance, consider what is already happening to the little town of Mendota

The farms in and around Mendota are dying of thirst. The signs are everywhere. Orchards with trees lying on their sides, as if shot. Former farm fields given over to tumbleweeds. Land and cattle for sale, cheap.

Large numbers of agricultural workers continue to hang on, hoping that somehow there will be enough work for them.  But as Evelyn Nieves recently observed, panic is starting to set in…

Off-season, by mid-February, idled workers are clearly anxious. Farmworkers and everyone else who waits out the winter for work (truckers, diesel providers, packing suppliers and the like) are nearing the end of the savings they squirrel away during the season. The season starts again in March, April at the latest, but no one knows who will get work when the season begins, or how much.

 
 
 

People are scared, panicked even.

I did not write this article so that you would panic.

Yes, incredibly hard times are coming.  If you will recall, the 1930s were also a time when the United States experienced extraordinarily dry weather conditions and a tremendous amount of financial turmoil.  We could very well be entering a similar time period.

Worrying about this drought is not going to change anything.  Instead of worrying, we should all be doing what we can to store some things up while food is still relatively cheap.  Our grandparents and our great-grandparents that lived during the days of the Great Depression knew the wisdom of having a well-stocked food pantry, and it would be wise to follow their examples.

Please share this article with as many people as you can.  The United States has never faced anything like this during most of our lifetimes.  We need to shake people out of their “normalcy bias” and get them to understand that big changes are coming.

This article first appeared here at the Economic Collapse Blog.  Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.

 

 

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Image credit: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com
 
 

Lunches Seized and Tossed in Trash at Salt Lake City Elementary School for Kids with Unpaid Balances

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Source: http://libertyblitzkrieg.com

By Michael Krieger

Lunches Seized and Tossed in Trash at Salt Lake City Elementary School for Kids with Unpaid Balances

 

While I understand the need for parents to pay for their children’s lunches, what do you think the appropriate response should be by adults running an elementary school upon realizing that some young children with unpaid balances had already been served a full hot meal?

Personally, I would assume that any reasonable human being would allow the children to eat the lunches while at the same time calling up their parents to sort out the problem. However, that’s not the action deemed appropriate by the “child-nutrition manager” that visited Uintah Elementary in Salt Lake City this past Tuesday. Nope, this person decided that the best course of action was to seize already served lunches and throw them in the trash in front of the victim’s classmates. Mind you, this person is called a “child-nutrition manager.” So someone in charge of “child nutrition” thinks he or she is doing their job by ensuring malnourishment due to unpaid balances.

Next stop for these kids, debtors prison, which are making a comeback in the U.S. by the way. Disgraceful.

From the Salt Lake Tribune:

Up to 40 kids at Uintah Elementary in Salt Lake City picked up their lunches Tuesday, then watched as the meals were taken and thrown away because of outstanding balances on their accounts — a move that shocked and angered parents.

“It was pretty traumatic and humiliating,” said Erica Lukes, whose 11-year-old daughter had her cafeteria lunch taken from her as she stood in line Tuesday at Uintah Elementary School, 1571 E. 1300 South.

Lukes said as far as she knew, she was all paid up. “I think it’s despicable,” she said. “These are young children that shouldn’t be punished or humiliated for something the parents obviously need to clear up.”

Jason Olsen, a Salt Lake City District spokesman, said the district’s child-nutrition department became aware that Uintah had a large number of students who owed money for lunches.

Better call the FBI, after all, it’s not as if there are bankers stealing billions or anything…

As a result, the child-nutrition manager visited the school and decided to withhold lunches to deal with the issue, he said.

But cafeteria workers weren’t able to see which children owed money until they had already received lunches, Olsen explained.

The workers then took those lunches from the students and threw them away, he said, because once food is served to one student it can’t be served to another.

She said it was a difficult day for her daughter and other kids. She said her daughter told her one of the cafeteria workers cried at the sight. And her daughter’s best friend was so upset that she went home Tuesday night and made lunches for all the students who had theirs taken, she said.

On a positive note, at least the children are far more sensible than the adults.

Full article here.

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U.S. Cattle Herd Is At A 61 Year Low And Organic Food Shortages Are Being Reported All Over America

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Source: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com

By Michael Snyder

U.S. Cattle Herd Is At A 61 Year Low And Organic Food Shortages Are Being Reported All Over America

 

Drought-2014-300x300If the extreme drought in the western half of the country keeps going, the food supply problems that we are experiencing right now are only going to be the tip of the iceberg.  As you will see below, the size of the U.S. cattle herd has dropped to a 61 year low, and organic food shortages are being reported all over the nation.  Surprisingly cold weather and increasing demand for organic food have both been a factor, but the biggest threat to the U.S. food supply is the extraordinary drought which has had a relentless grip on the western half of the country.  If you check out the U.S. Drought Monitor, you can see that drought conditions currently stretch from California all the way to the heart of Texas.  In fact, the worst drought in the history of the state of California is happening right now.  And considering the fact that the rest of the nation is extremely dependent on produce grown in California and cattle raised in the western half of the U.S., this should be of great concern to all of us.

A local Fox News report that was featured on the Drudge Report entitled “Organic food shortage hits US” has gotten quite a bit of attention. The following is an excerpt from that article…

Since Christmas, cucumbers supplies from Florida have almost ground to a halt and the Mexican supply is coming but it’s just not ready yet.
 
And as the basic theory of economics goes, less supply drives up prices.
 
Take organic berries for example:
 
There was a strawberry shortage a couple weeks back and prices spiked.
 
Experts say the primary reasons for the shortages are weather and demand.

And without a doubt, demand for organic food has grown sharply in recent years.  More Americans than ever have become aware of how the modern American diet is slowly killing all of us, and they are seeking out alternatives.

Due to the tightness in supply and the increasing demand, prices for organic produce just continue to go up.  Just consider the following example

A quick check on the organic tree fruit market shows that the average price per carton for organic apples was $38 per carton in mid-January this year, up from an average of just $31 per carton last year at the same time. At least for apple marketers, the organic market is heating up.

Personally, I went to a local supermarket the other day and I started to reach for a package of organic strawberries but I stopped when I saw that they were priced at $6.99.  I couldn’t justify paying 7 bucks for one package.  I still remember getting them on sale for $2.99 last year.

Unfortunately, this may only be just the beginning of the price increases.  California Governor Jerry Brown has just declared a water emergency, and reservoirs throughout the state have dropped to dangerously low levels.

Unless a miracle happens, there is simply not going to be enough water to go around for the entire agriculture industry.  The following is an excerpt from an email from an industry insider that researcher Ray Gano recently shared on his website

Harris farms has released a statement saying they will leave about 40,000 acres fallow this year because the FEDS have decided to only deliver 10% of the water allocation for 2014. Lettuce is predicted to reach around $5.00 a head (if you can find it). Understand the farmers in the Salinas valley are considering the same action. So much for salad this summer unless you grow it yourself.

The reason why the agriculture industry in California is so important is because it literally feeds the rest of the nation.  I shared the following statistics yesterday, but they are so critical that they bear repeating.  As you can see, without the fruits and vegetables that California grows, we would be in for a world of hurt

The state produces 99 percent of the artichokes grown in the US, 44 percent of asparagus, a fifth of cabbage, two-thirds of carrots, half of bell peppers, 89 percent of cauliflower, 94 percent of broccoli, and 95 percent of celery. Leafy greens? California’s got the market cornered: 90 percent of the leaf lettuce we consume, along with and 83 percent of Romaine lettuce and 83 percent of fresh spinach, come from the big state on the left side of the map. Cali also cranks a third of total fresh tomatoes consumed in the U.S.—and 95 percent of ones destined for cans and other processing purposes.
 
As for fruit, I get that 86 percent of lemons and a quarter of oranges come from there; its sunny climate makes it perfect for citrus, and lemons store relatively well. Ninety percent of avocados? Fine. But 84 percent of peaches, 88 percent of fresh strawberries, and 97 percent of fresh plums?
 
Come on. Surely the other 49 states can do better.

Are you starting to understand how much trouble we could be in if this drought does not end?

About now I can hear some people out there saying that they will just eat meat because they don’t like vegetables anyway.

Well, unfortunately we are rapidly approaching a beef shortage as well.

On January 1st, the U.S. cattle herd hit a 61-year low of 89.3 million head of cattle.

The biggest reason for this is the 5 year drought that has absolutely crippled the cattle industry out west…

Back in the late fall 2013 there was a freak snowstorm that killed close to 300,000+ cattle. This is a major hit to the cattle market.
 
I know in Texas where they still have a 5 year drought they are dealing with, they are having to ship grass bails in from Colorado, Utah and other parts of the country just to feed the cattle. Ranchers are sending their female cattle to the slaughter houses becasue they can not afford to feed them anymore. It is the females that help re-stock the herd. SO if you are slaughtering your females, your herd does not grow. It is expected that the US will not see cattle herd growth returning until 2017, maybe even later.

This is a problem which is not going away any time soon.

According to the Washington Post, the U.S. cattle herd has gotten smaller for six years in a row, and the amount of beef produced is expected to drop to a 20 year low in 2014…

The U.S. cattle herd contracted for six straight years to the smallest since 1952, government data show. A record drought in 2011 destroyed pastures in Texas, the top producing state, followed the next year by a surge in feed-grain prices during the worst Midwest dry spell since the 1930s. Fewer cattle will mean production in the $85 billion beef industry drops to a 20- year low in 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

It would be hard to overstate how devastating this ongoing drought has been for many ranchers out west.  For example, one 64-year-old rancher who lives in Texas says that his herd is 90 percent smaller than it was back in 2005 because of the drought

Texas rancher Looney, who is 64 and has been in the cattle business his whole life, said his herd is still about 90 percent below its size from 2005 because of the prolonged dry weather. It will take years for the pastures to come back, even if there is normal rainfall, he said. About 44 percent of Texas was in still in drought in the week ended Jan. 7, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

And it isn’t just the U.S. that is dealing with this kind of drought.  The largest freshwater lake in China that was once about twice the size of London, England has almost entirely dried up because of the ongoing drought over there.

Meanwhile, global demand for food just continues to rise.

If this drought ends and the western half of the nation starts getting lots of rain, this could just be a temporary crisis.

However, the truth is that scientific research has shown that the 20th century was the wettest century in the western half of the country in 1000 years, and that we should expect things to return to “normal” at some point.

So is that happening now?

Over the past couple of years, I have warned that Dust Bowl conditions are starting to return to the western half of the United States.  Just see this article, this article and this article.

Now the state of California is experiencing the worst drought that it has ever gone through and “apocalyptic” dust storms are being reported in Colorado and Nevada.

Just because things seem like they have always been a certain way does not mean that they will always stay that way.

Things out west are rapidly changing, and in the end it is going to affect the lives of every man, woman and child in the United States.

This article first appeared here at the Economic Collapse Blog.  Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.

 

Image credit: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com
 

Price of Ground Beef Hits All-Time High

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Source: http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com

By

Price of Ground Beef Hits All-Time High

 

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The average price for a pound of ground beef hit its all-time in the United States in November, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In January 1980, when BLS started tracking the average price of 100-percent beef  ground chuck, a pound cost $1.82. By this November, the same pound of ground beef cost $3.61 per pound. That was up from $3.49 per pound in October.

 

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What inflation? As long as you don’t eat, there is no price inflation.

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Image credit: http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com

 

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