Ever-rising prices for essential farming inputs has created a crises for farmers, and will soon create one for anybody who eats. From Doomberg at doomberg.substack.com:
“Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
It was a spooky time to be out at sea off the US East Coast on Halloween in 1991. A strong storm system over the maritime provinces in Canada merged with the remnants of Hurricane Grace, forming a new, epic, and dangerous Nor’easter. The winds of this new storm breached 70 miles per hour and a wave as high as 100 feet was measured off the coast of Nova Scotia, but the storm was not renamed as either a tropical storm or a hurricane – instead, it is known only colloquially as simply the Perfect Storm. Six fishermen from Massachusetts perished when their vessel Andrea Gail sunk in open waters, and the story of the storm and of that tragedy became the subject of a best-selling book and a blockbuster feature film.
While the concept of a perfect storm is often too casually assigned in popular culture, it is difficult to find a more apt description of what has been unfolding in the global agriculture markets over these past several months. The tempest caused by the European energy disaster has merged with the hurricane of consequences flowing from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, forming the genesis of a generational crisis in food that will leave few unaffected. While we’ve been warning about just such a scenario for some time, after spending the past two weeks traveling across the US Midwest and conferring with our contacts in the agricultural sector, even we are a little spooked by what we’ve learned. In a financial crash, the correlation between all asset classes converges to one. The coming crash in global food supply will be driven by a similar phenomenon across virtually every input into farming – they are all spiking to historic highs simultaneously, supply availability is diminishing across the spectrum, and the time to reverse the worst of the upcoming consequences is rapidly running short.
On the wall of our bedroom there hangs an old, oval photograph of my family. My paternal grandmother Emily stands with her younger sister Hazel, eyes fixed intently on the viewer. They are wearing dresses, probably their Sunday best judging from the looks of it, my grandmother’s waist tied with what looks like a sash, her hand placed protectively on her baby brother Irvin’s shoulder as he sits on his grandfather’s lap. Her father, William sits on an empty packing crate a hammer in one hand and shoe in the other and if you look closely you can see the nails held in his lips while he posed, stopped for the moment from his task at hand.
Dennis, who would have been my great-great grandfather, is wearing a worn out felt hat that looks remarkably similar to the one Jed Clampet wore in the Beverly Hillbillies, the brim soft with age and drooping around his white halo of hair. He wore a full white beard and well patched trousers. On his faced is a satisfied smirk that looks just like mine and his large gnarled hands hold his infant grandson upright, his baby-face wrapped in a white bonnet that suggests his mother dressed him for the photograph. Based on everyone’s age it was probably taken sometime near the end of the Great War, late Summer or early Fall.
We are witnessing “unprecedented” crop failures all across the United States, but the big mainstream news networks are not talking too much about this yet. As you will see below, local news outlets all over the nation are reporting the disasters that are taking place in their own local areas, but very few people are putting the pieces of the puzzle together on a national level. The endless rain and horrific flooding during the early months of this year resulted in tremendous delays in getting crops planted in many areas, and now snow and bitterly cold temperatures are turning harvest season into a complete and utter nightmare all over the country. I am going to share with you a whole bunch of examples below, but first I wanted to mention the snow and bitterly cold air that are rolling through the middle of the nation right now…
An unprecedented October blizzard that hit just before harvest time has absolutely devastated farms all across the U.S. heartland. As you will see below, one state lawmaker in North Dakota is saying that the crop losses will be “as devastating as we’ve ever seen”. This is the exact scenario that I have been warning about for months, and now it has materialized. Due to endless rain and horrific flooding early in the year, many farmers in the middle of the country faced very serious delays in getting their crops planted. So we really needed good weather at the end of the season so that the crops could mature and be harvested in time, and that did not happen. Instead, the historic blizzard that we just witnessed dumped up to 2 feet of snow from Colorado to Minnesota. In fact, one city in North Dakota actually got 30 inches of snow. In the end, this is going to go down as one of the worst crop disasters that the Midwest has ever seen, and ultimately this crisis is going to affect all of us.
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