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.