Fri, 14 Aug 2009 18:38 UTC
In a strange type of deja vu reminiscent of the spring of 2008, states ranging from Maryland all the way down to North Carolina are experiencing a damaged wheat harvest according to a Washington Post article
from Thursday. Some of the crops were so badly damaged by excessive rain that not only can much of it not be sold for flour, but it can't be used for animal feed, either.
Back in 2008, the Midwest had an overabundance of rain that led to shortages of rice, flour and cooking oil in some states. The shortages then brought about rationing. The rationing of grocery items in America: that all by itself seems surreal. And with the present damage being reported in a new region, it leaves me wondering if we will see shortages and rationing again in the coming months in some states.
To make matters even more interesting, The Wall Street Journal reported
on Thursday that various large American food companies are warning that there could be a sugar shortage, "if the Obama administration doesn't ease import restrictions amid soaring prices for the key commodities. " Since many preprocessed food items purchased in the typical grocery store use sugar as an ingredient (sometimes within the top 5 listed on the label) this has the potential to affect more than just your typical bag of sugar or bakery item.
Then there is the coming climate bill -- also known as cap and trade. In a nutshell, this bill will tax companies based on their carbon emissions. And Senate will start working on this again in September when they return from their August recess -- along with the healthcare bill. According to The Wall Street Journal
, companies such as Tyson foods, General Mills, and Cargill Inc., are planning to release studies that reveal that cap and trade will lead to higher prices. And if the price of transporting that food goes up because of their carbon emissions, and / or if the price of diesel should spike again, that is not going to be a good combination.
Now a shortage of things such as wheat, rice and oil in developing countries is one thing. We hear about that on a relatively regular basis and our country is typically the one to step in and try to bring those countries relief. But for that to happen in America, a country that is supposed to be something of a land of plenty and a land of opportunity and freedom; a country that is supposed to be strong and financially secure and has always had God's blessings in so many ways, that strikes me as significant and worthy of attention. And for it to happen two years in a row suggests a need for some self-introspection and a willingness to seek the Lord in prayer and ask Him if He's trying to get our attention. Perhaps part of what He is trying to communicate to us may have something to do with the choices that we have made in relation to whom we are voting into office as the leaders of this country. But that opinion aside for a moment, it would also seem that there is at least an opportunity to choose the severity of potential price hikes. However, it's going to require speaking out and letting congress know that we don't want the cap and trade bill either.
Comment: Many warnings seem to be cropping up about crop damage, potential food shortages and the like. This article, (minus the godly invocations that remove living, thinking human beings with brains from the equation), is one more person noticing the potential for what may be brewing.
Overall the United States harvest for corn, soy beans and wheat still looks favorable even though many crops are behind schedule in maturing due to a cool spring and summer in many major growing regions. However, early frost or any of several other weather factors may still endanger the current forecasts. We can only wait and see.