For many decades, the Midwest has been called “America’s Breadbasket.” That’s because Midwest farmers grow huge amounts of wheat used to make bread.
The Midwest is also called “America’s Heartland.” That’s because it’s located in the center or “heart” of the country. And because it’s the nation’s center for farming.
Do you know what they’re calling the Midwest this year? Water-logged. Massive amounts of snow, rain and flooding during the spring wreaked havoc with American farms.
Eight states bordering the Mississippi River experienced the longest stretch of flooding since the Great Flood of 1927. The USDA reported that the continental U.S. had its wettest 12 months ever.
Fewer crops = higher prices
As a result of all this excess water, many farms were still flooded when it came time to plant. There were also tons of debris, sand and silt to clear.
Grain planting in the Midwest and the Plains this year was the slowest in recorded history. One estimate said more than 6 million acres would go unplanted this year that are normally planted.
Most farmers had bought their usual supplies of seed, but were unable to plant much of it. Some of those whose fields were dry enough had other problems. Such as tractors, farm equipment and fences damaged by flooding.
Fewer crops being planted means less food. And higher prices. The weather issues affecting agricultural states this past spring are resulting in a lack of food security for the U.S. and the world. And there are other causes. More on that subject in a moment.
Corn and soybeans way behind
A recent USDA Crop Progress Report stated that only 32 percent of corn plantings had emerged. That’s compared to a 69 percent average over the past three years.
And only 11 percent of soybean plants had emerged, compared to a 35 percent average in recent years.
Grain prices are rising. And with feed costs going up, the price of meat, poultry, bread and pastas will increase as well.
Also affected is the distribution system. Local seed, fertilizer, pesticide and farm equipment dealers will also see sales cut. As well as grain handlers.
Physical and mental health issues
One recent report claims that food will become scarcer, less nutritious and more expensive in the near future. Due mostly to the increase in extreme weather events.
This all adds up to a lack of food for the average family. And that means a lack of physical strength to cope with a crisis.
It also means an inability to think clearly. Which can result in poor decision making during an emergency situation.
Not to mention putting people at risk for health problems that could incapacitate someone whose family is counting on to get them through the ordeal.
Food insecurity has many causes
The increase in the number of extreme weather events and in their intensity is the main cause for the lack of food security. But there are others.
For one, pesticides are killing bees in alarming numbers. Bees are responsible for pollinating the majority of the food crops on which we depend.
Another is genetic engineering. The jury is still out on the exact long-term harm from engineering plants to resist pests and grow faster. But messing with Mother Nature does not have a good track record.
Soil erosion is another. In the past 150 years, the world has lost approximately one-half of its topsoil. That’s where plants get most of their nutrients.
Still another is land development. Buildings constructed on usable land result in another lost area where crops could have grown.
Finally, there’s the lack of farmers. Older farmers are retiring or dying off. And only a small percentage of them are being replaced by younger farmers.
Your solution to food insecurity
Natural disasters, pesticides, genetic engineering, soil erosion, land development, fewer farmers… they’re all threats to U.S. food security.
But those aren’t the only things that could affect your ability to buy the food you and your family need.
There’s also potential job loss. Or an economic downturn that would negatively affect the stock market. Or an increase in food prices… the list is endless.
That’s why it’s crucial to stockpile healthy, nutritious, tasty survival food with a long shelf life. Something that will get you and your family through a rough stretch that could go on for weeks or even months.