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Food prices have been facing meteoric rises recently, but they are about to go even higher because the U.S. agricultural production is being absolutely devastated by what is being considered the worst drought in all American history. This week, the latest reading of the U.S. Drought Monitor brought some extremely concerning news for us. The state of California is now 100% in state of drought, and given that California produces over 60% of the vegetables, fruits, and nuts Americans consume all across the country, this is a major indicator that we will see food shortages and soaring food prices once again in the next couple of months. Evidently, California isn’t the only state facing a nightmarish drought right now. Extremely dry weather conditions are covering more territory in our western states than we have ever seen before.
Even though 2020 was one of the worst years for agricultural production in the US, at this time last year only 20 percent of the West was suffering from “severe drought”. Today, that number jumped to a staggering 80 percent. What we’re facing here is a historic disaster of unprecedented proportions, and our nation’s farmers and ranchers and our food supply chains will be dramatically hard hit by this crisis. In fact, the agricultural production of some supplies is already dwindling at an alarming rate.
The truth is that all organic grains, which tend to be grown in concentrated areas, some of which are located in major drought regions, are in a particularly critical situation at the moment. Many farmers are predicting there will be little to no production to harvest in the coming months. In California, 50 of the state’s 58 counties are under a drought state of emergency. For that reason, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order urging all Californians to “voluntarily reduce water use by 15%”. However, for farmers and ranchers reducing water consumption is not as simple as turning off the sprinkler. “While demand for water can be reduced, one thing will not change and that is the public’s demand for food,” explained Jamie Johansson, president of the California Farm Bureau.
Considering California is currently responsible for the production of two-thirds of the nation’s fruits and nuts and one-third of its vegetables, the strains on the water resources needed to grow these crops will be translated into a lower volume of food products going to the stores. At the end of the day, we have to start thinking about what we’re going to do if there is simply not enough food to go around because things are going from bad to worse. With the U.S. growing fewer grains, fruits, and vegetables, major food chains are getting increasingly dependent on exports, mostly from Canada. The bad news is that Canada is suffering just as much if not more from extreme dryness. In a recent report, local farmers revealed that a never before seen “heat dome” has literally burned their crops before harvest.
Meanwhile, the corporate media is giving very little coverage about the severity of this crisis. The stories simply don’t make justice to what is actually happening and, most importantly, no one is talking about the consequences this will have in all of our lives. It’s hard to understand why the federal government isn’t taking action to ease the impacts of this disaster. All over the world, several countries are also currently facing the consequences of the climate crisis, but other national governments are actively taking steps to turn things around. Even billionaires in the food industry have been sharing their concerns about the frightening pace of inflation growth. In a recent interview with Fox Businesses, John Catsimatidis, the owner and CEO of Manhattan-based grocery chain Gristedes Foods, said that he expects 10% to 14% food inflation by October and that Americans should brace for higher prices for basic expenses in the coming months.
In other words, what we have witnessed so far was just the very beginning and there will certainly be much more financial and economic pain in 2022 and beyond. That is to say, it’s very unlikely food prices will ever be lower than they are right now. So if you can afford to stockpile the supplies you need before prices have gone out of control, just do it while there’s still time. Scientists are telling us that this is a multi-year “megadrought”, and what we’ve seen is just the tip of the iceberg. Unfortunately, there seem to be many more chapters to this story and we must get ready for the looming disasters.