Food Shortage Update

Wheat Shortages. Photo c/o bloomberg.com

Wheat Shortages. Photo c/o bloomberg.com

As of May, the U.S. just sold the very last of their wheat reserves. As of now the U.S. government wheat reserves are totally empty. The U.S. has no intention of replenishing these supplies until the prices have stabilized.

As a comparison, during the 80’s the U.S. had on hand about 358 million bushels of wheat. During the 90’s they decreased that to 133 million bushels.  Now they are at zero.

Since the U.S. government is out of storing wheat, this leaves the private sector as the primary source.  Unfortunately, (and grateful for the freedom as well) there are no minimum wheat crops to be harvested in the U.S.

Food Shortages: Wheat. Photo c/o economicsuk.com

Food Shortages: Wheat. Photo c/o economicsuk.com

As best as can be evaluated, there are just over 305 million bushels held privately and on business farms throughout the U.S. as of June of this year. That’s less than one bushel per person in the U.S. It’s also the lowest level it’s been in 60 years.

Texas has decreased their wheat crop this year by 30%.

Holdings for corn, sorghum, and rice are also at nearly zero in the U.S. Larry Matlack of the American Agriculture Movement also states that there is no powdered milk, cheese, or butter in reserve in the U.S. either. In other words, we have an entire nation living hand to mouth, much like many of the consumers in their own homes.

Chinese Wheat Crop. Photo c/o Xinhua Photo

Chinese Wheat Crop. Photo c/o Xinhua Photo

Now, let’s add another little twist. The Chinese crop of wheat is considered to be the largest in the world. Surely you are familiar with the fact that they are experiencing a record drought over the past year. Keep in mind that their consumption is the largest in the world as well. In spite of the rumors that China has 60 million metric tons of wheat in storage, there still is a genuine concern here. If they truly did have such amounts of wheat in stores why would they invest over 86 billion yuan to aid in the drought relief in this type of a market?  Additionally, no storage of the 60 million metric tons has been verified.

Egypt’s wheat reserves are at 4.023 million metric tons—which is not quite enough to get them through 2009. They have also hit record lows on sugar, rice, vegetable and soy oil resources, and rice.

What have I been telling you? Food is your BEST investment right now—whether in your own pantry or on the market. Get it and get ready for a serious challenge, folks. As I’ve said previously, please don’t allow the years of plenty to fool you into believing that they will always be there.

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Comments

I don't want to call into doubt any of your facts but when I try to spread the word about what is happening it would help a lot if you could provide your references. For example how did you determine the US storage is at zero?

On a semi cheerful note I just picked up red wheat for $6.50/50lb.

Todd, thanks for the kind caveat. There are two things you can do. 1) either read my blog and get a summary of all that's out there or 2) do a google search on the info I've summarized and see a great deal of supporting info. Keep in mind that Preparedness Pro isn't a "homespun" kind of blog. Everything we publish we research. I write from the assumption that folks want a condensed amount of easy info. I could do better about putting links in my articles though. Sometimes I just get in a hurry to get things out though. Thanks for the comment.

http://www.marketskeptics.com/2009/07/us-govt-completely-out-of-wheat.html

http://www.marketskeptics.com/2009/02/does-chinas-60-million-tons-of-whe...

http://www.flex-news-food.com/pages/24275/Egypt/Wheat/egypt-wheat-reserv...

I just came across your blog a few weeks back through "preparing for Tyranny" and I have to say it is great. The summary works fine for me and I figured you were not making it up as you go, I didn't mean to imply you were.

I have some in my family that I'm trying to get to see the light and I thought if I had references would help. They are of the thought that since we have never had a shortage we never will. One thing that makes it tough is that we are surrounded by feilds of wheat and corn.

Please know that no offense was taken. I see your dilemman all to often. Are they beyond remembering the Cuban crisis then or the "great depression"? The point I was trying to make in the article is that you don't even have to be a Bible reader to believe that things are going to be tough (although I base the majority of my preparations on the scriptures, personally.) The evidence is ALL around us. One can't argue with the fact that countries that traditionally were our largest exporters of wheat are now having to import. There has been tumultuous weather killing crops not just in our own nation, but in the world, etc. I'm sorry to hear that you're having to witness loved ones and friends "not get it." That's got to be tough on you. And it will be even tougher unfortunately when the "fit hits the shan."

I think our society has a hard time accepting this b/c there's plenty of food on the shelves. And it is relatively cheap compared to our incomes. You can get rice and beans at the warehouses for less than $1.00 a pound. Since food appears plentiful and prices have not skyrocketed, people are not listening. Most people in America today have not seen a generation go hungry. Yes, there are hungry people... but that is a small portion of our population. One problem in the chain and we are in trouble.

Even in Houston after Ike, people are not concerned. We saw the grocery stores emptied. It was errie seeing major stores without food. It didn't matter how much money you had, no bottled water or staples.

If we have shortages, it will not be fun. So many people have a sense of entitlement they will be demanding food. It happened soon after Ike hit: "Where's FEMA????" people were screaming. I was amazed at how many people expected assistance. People used precious gallons of gasoline to wait in line for MREs and a small amount of water. A FEMA line is hell on earth to me.

I guess this turned into a rant. Maybe I'm "entitled":)

Yes, Kris. You are entitled to be right. :-)
Having no concept of a food shortage is in part what will make people so unsensible, desperate, and just downright crazy. It's unfathomable to them. I am indeed worried for them. But on the other hand, I'm having to prepare not only for the thriving of my family in tough times, but for surviving the desperate, crazy folks as well. That will not be pretty.

Kellene,

You know what they remember of the missle crisis, nothing happened. My dad actually told me that since he can remember everyone says the sky is falling but nothing ever happens, there is no reason to worry about it and everything will be ok.

I should say that my folks started a garden this year and they do have some food stored, they have always had a fair amount of food.

Anyway thanks for the blog, keep up the great work!

Folks just want it both ways. Either "you never warned me" or "you warned me too much" right? Anyone can predict the weather once the rain is actually falling, right? And yet the point of my article is that the rain is indeed falling and folks are still waiting for the earthquake. Good grief.

I was just wondering if your post is a new one or a reprint from last year?

You wrote:

"As of May, the U.S. just sold the very last of their wheat reserves. As of now the U.S. government wheat reserves are totally empty. The U.S. has no intention of replenishing these supplies until the prices have stabilized."

Yet the articles you linked to in comments and also what I've been able to find through searches... that sale took place in May of 2008.

Do you know if things have changed since then?

See what happens when I do links? I just confuse folks. sorry. :-) I was using those articles as part of my references. I did additional research for NOW to make sure that nothing had changed for the better. (Sadly, it has not.) There was some additional wheat available in the private sector as of February this year, but at the end of April, it was contracted for sale to Argentina--whose in dire straits right now. Thus as of May of this year that it's all gone, any traces of it. It was clearly looming that way last year though when the links were posted. We're in an obviously worse situation now due to the value of the dollar, and the sale of all of the other food stuffs in order to generate some "cash."

I've been an avid reader of yours since last year. I appreciate the urgency in your message. Thanks to you, I have a solid three-month supply of food, and will ramp up to a year's supply in short order. Momentum builds! I've taken up canning, sprouting and container gardening. There is a sense of peace in keeping a full larder. It does not guarantee security, but I agree, it is the best investment.

Prudent folks should be encouraged and inspired by your work. Tragically, many could be caught unprepared. The ugly realities of human nature in a crisis, especially a long-term crisis, are beyond what most can imagine. You hit the nail on the head - most cannot fathom that we could ever have a food crisis HERE.

Many, many thanks for sharing your wisdom. Know that you are having an impact on the lives of others. May those blessings be returned to you!

You're such an expensive addiction Kellene. I bought more food today. Hubby may block you from my computer:)

Thank you very much Marie. May you have some success in passing this along to others you care about and may they be influenced as well.

Nah. I'll just talk to him more about guns and ammo and he'll "let" you keep reading me. By the way, you gave me quite the giggle on this comment! Thanks!

Just bought 250 lbs of rice and 250 lbs of beans to supplement our full food pantry. I'll be storing them with oxygen absorbers just in case we don't need them for a couple of years.

My daughters "science project" for school this year is going to be about cooking food with solar ovens. That way we'll make 3 solar ovens and she'll learn a little about prepin'.

Thanks for an AWESOME post! All good news to read!

A friend forwarded me the article about wheat reserves being at zero in the US. Your comment at the bottom indicated that you had found red wheat for $6.50/50lbs...where did you find such a good deal?

I don't think I said $6.50 for 50 pounds. I havent' been able to get it for that cheap in a long time. I usually buy my wheat from a local grocery store that is great about pricing food storage items and they have sales regularly. I did just snag some for about $10 for 50 pounds today though through a group buy. I also got an e-mail of store called Brackens, in a small town (Enterprise, UT) selling it for $10.58 for 50 pounds. (hard red wheat)

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