Archive for July 16th, 2008

Food shortage

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

It’s been a long time since the USA has been significantly effected by any food shortage, but we are in the throes of a shortage right now that threatens to impact not only our own middle and lower classes, but populations world wide.

Is this in preparation for the “black horse” of Revelation 6? Is it just part of the trials we will experience during these “birth pangs” of the last days? Only God knows, but time will reveal it all to us.

A few months ago, flour almost doubled in price at the supermarket during one week. This was due to a wheat shortage caused mainly by farmers planting other, more profitable crops. For instance, many leading wheat producers this spring plowed under portions of their wheat crops to over plant with corn, which they can sell for ethanol production and make more money than with the wheat.

Corn itself is in short supply.  More corn growers are planting varieties suitable for ethanol manufacture and for burning as fuel in corn stoves.  In addition, thousands of acres of corn crop were devastated by the Midwest flooding this summer.

Corn, of course, is the basic ingredient in almost all livestock feeds, which means that meats will see another jump in price once (probably even before) this year’s corn harvest is in.  Demand for meat is also up, as the burgeoning middle class in China and India are adding more meats to their diet, following their Western counterparts.

Rice, the staple food for most of the world’s population, also has supply difficulties.  Because of successive years of poor harvests.  Rice imported into the USA has tripled in price since April of last year.  Some rice-producing nations in Asia have put strict limits on how much rice can be exported, in order to be sure they have enough to feed their own populations.

Couple all of these problems with the “coincidental” issues like the decline in bee populations.  Commercial apiaries haul their hives from field to field to pollinate the crops.  Because of the vast sizes of fields on the modern industrial farm, and the years of pesticide applied to those fields, there are little or no natural insect populations present to pollinate the crops.  Without pollination, there are no fruits or vegetables.

However, in the last two years the beekeepers have seen their bee populations decline by 20% to 30% each year due to a new phenomenon they call “colony collapse disorder.”  Bees simply fly off, abandoning their hive and queen, and die.  They don’t know what causes it, and it is going to take years of study and experimentation to figure it out.

The food shortage has already had some dramatic effects in other parts of the world.

A few weeks ago Fox News reported that residents in some Haitian towns are now eating what amounts to mud pies.  They are made by mixing dirt, water, some butter, and a little salt for flavor, then forming them into patties and letting them cure in the sun for a few hours.  Food prices have climbed so high in Haiti that the average working family can only afford to buy about half the food they could by last year.

There have already been food riots in some third-world cities.  You see, if you pinch someone’s gas supply, they will just get angry.  If you pinch their food supply, they get violent.

President Bush recently approved a wildly expensive food aid package targetting the world’s poorer nations, and the U.N. is scrambling for billions of more dollars.  They understand that food shortages lead to unrest, which leads to instability and war (and rumors of war…).

Even those food items that have not been impacted by shortages are rising in price.  Day by day it gets more expensive to truck vegetables and fruit from Mexico and South America because of rising gas prices.

“Good!” you might say.  “We can grow it ourselves.”  Except, we can’t.  In 1990 the State of Maine (up here where I am) was 60% more forested than it was in 1960.  This was because family farmland was being abandoned to the forest.  The younger generation lost interest in farming because food was so cheap and easy to get, so the fields that had been cleared through the hard labor and sacrifice of our ancestors were left to be consumed again by the forests from which they were carved.  It’s amazing today to be walking deep in the woods and come across the stone walls that used to mark the boundaries of farmer’s fields.

It would take years, maybe a couple decades, for the fields in this state alone to be cleared again and made suitable for farming.  Assuming gas continues to rise in price, it would also be very expensive to clear these fields using modern machinery.

The fertility of our farmland is also decreasing because of the years or chemical fertilizer, pesticide, and herbicide use.  Some farmland today can now only grow food using chemical fertilizer.  The soil is dead.  In the Midwest farm belt, where there used to be 18 inches or more of deep, rich topsoil, enabling us to become the “bread basket of the world”, there is now six or less inches of weak, emmaciated soil.

We can’t feed our own people anymore.   We no longer have that capability.

Our nation is entering a period in time that will be rivaled only by the Great Depression in severity.  Food is becoming more and more scarce and expensive.  Is is coincidence, or is it a divine judgment on our nation?

How could we think that our rebellious, sinful, worldy, self-indulgent nation, with its rebellious, sinful, worldly, self-indulgent Christians, could escape God’s judgment?

Had we stuck to the Old Paths, and been faithful to His Word, we might have seen many more generations of prosperity in this country.  But the prosperity God sent led to apathy, then  rebellion, toward Him.  Rebellion led to selfishness, then self-indulgence.  And look at where we are now.