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Why Meat Prices Are Going To Continue Soaring For The Foreseeable Future

Drought Monitor April 1The average price of USDA choice-grade beef has soared to $5.28 a pound, and the average price of a pound of bacon has skyrocketed to $5.46.  Unfortunately for those that like to eat meat, this is just the beginning of the price increases.  Due to an absolutely crippling drought that won’t let go of the western half of the country, the total size of the U.S. cattle herd has shrunk for seven years in a row, and it is now the smallest that is has been since 1951.  But back in 1951, we had less than half the number of mouths to feed.  And a devastating pig virus that has never been seen in the United States before has already killed up to 6 million pigs in this country and continues to spread like wildfire.  What all of this means is that the supply of meat is going to be tight for the foreseeable future even as demand for meat continues to go up.  This is going to result in much higher prices, and so food is going to put a much larger dent in American family budgets in the months and years to come.

One year ago, the average price of USDA choice-grade beef was $4.91.  Now it is up to $5.28, and the Los Angeles Times says that we should not expect prices to come down “any time soon”…

Come grilling season, expect your sirloin steak to come with a hearty side of sticker shock.

Beef prices have reached all-time highs in the U.S. and aren’t expected to come down any time soon.

Extreme weather has thinned the nation’s beef cattle herds to levels last seen in 1951, when there were about half as many mouths to feed in America.

We’ve seen strong prices before but nothing this extreme,” said Dennis Smith, a commodities broker for Archer Financial Services in Chicago. This is really new territory.

The outlook for pork is even worse.  The price of bacon is 13 percent higher than it was a year ago, and porcine epidemic diarrhea is absolutely devastating the U.S. pig population

A virus never before seen in the U.S. has killed millions of baby pigs in less than a year, and with little known about how it spreads or how to stop it, it’s threatening pork production and pushing up prices by 10 percent or more.

Scientists think porcine epidemic diarrhea, which does not infect humans or other animals, came from China, but they don’t know how it got into the country or spread to 27 states since last May.

It is estimated that up to 6 million pigs may have died already, and it is being projected that U.S. pork production could be down by 7 percent this year.  That would be the largest decline in more than 30 years.

But even if someone brought an end to this pig virus tomorrow, we would still be facing a very serious food crisis in this nation.

The reason for this is the multi-year drought which is crippling farming and ranching in much of the western half of the country.

As you can see from the latest U.S. Drought Monitor update, the drought shows no signs of letting up…

Drought Monitor April 1

Hopefully this drought will end soon.

But I wouldn’t count on it.

In fact, CBS News recently interviewed one scientist that says that the state of California could potentially be facing “a century-long megadrought“…

Scientist Lynn Ingram, author of “The West without Water: What Past Floods, Droughts, and Other Climatic Clues Tell Us about Tomorrow,” uses sediment cores inside tubes to study the history of drought in the West.

“We’ve taken this record back about 3,000 years,” Ingram says.

That record shows California is in one of its driest periods since 1580.

While a three-to-five-year drought is often thought of as being a long drought, Ingram says history shows they can be much longer.

If we go back several thousand years, we’ve seen that droughts can last over a decade, and in some cases, they can last over a century,” she says.

So what will we do if this drought just keeps going and going and going?

As the article quoted above noted, last century was far wetter than usual.  During that time, we built teeming cities in the desert and we farmed vast areas that are usually bone dry…

Scientists say their research shows the 20th century was one of the wettest centuries in the past 1,300 years. During that time, we built massive dams and rerouted rivers. We used abundant water to build major cities and create a $45 billion agriculture industry in a place that used to be a desert.

So what happens if the western half of the country returns to “normal”?

What will we do then?

Meanwhile, drought is devastating many other very important agricultural areas around the world as well.  For example, the horrible drought in Brazil could soon send the price of coffee through the roof

Coffee futures prices are up more than 75 percent this year due to a lack of appreciable rain in the coffee growing region of eastern Brazil during January and February, which are critical months for plant development, according to the International Coffee Organization, a London-based trade group.

At this point, 142 Brazilian cities are rationing water, and it wouldn’t just be coffee that would be affected by this drought.  As a recent RT article explained, Brazil is one of the leading exporters in a number of key agricultural categories…

Over 140 Brazilian cities have been pushed to ration water during the worst drought on record, according to a survey conducted by the country’s leading newspaper. Some neighborhoods only receive water once every three days.

Water is being rationed to nearly 6 million people living in a total of 142 cities across 11 states in Brazil, the world’s leading exporter of soybeans, coffee, orange juice, sugar and beef. Water supply companies told the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper that the country’s reservoirs, rivers and streams are the driest they have been in 20 years. A record heat wave could raise energy prices and damage crops.

Some neighborhoods in the city of Itu in Sao Paulo state (which accounts for one-quarter of Brazil’s population and one-third of its GDP), only receive water once every three days, for a total of 13 hours.

Most people just assume that we will always have massive quantities of cheap, affordable food in our supermarkets.

But just because that has been the case for as long as most of us can remember, that does not mean that it will always be true.

Times are changing, and food prices are already starting to move upward aggressively.

Yes, let us hope for the best, but let us also prepare for the worst.

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  • K

    Let us add to that, the number of cattle, that froze to death last winter. Think next winter will be warmer. Not if all these volcanoes pump enough ash into the atmosphere. Next winter could be even worse. Folks prepping is to tide you over rough spots. It does not have to be an earthquake, or even economic collapse. It could just be a time when groceries are so expensive, you can not afford them. Remember the shelves could be full. It does not matter, if you can not afford what is on those shelves..

    • MichaelfromTheEconomicCollapse

      Very good points K. :)

      Michael

      • DownandOut00

        Let’s not forget that the record-breaking droughts, tornadoes, and heat started after Japan’s nuclear meltdowns blanketed the U.S. with radiation.

        Here is a plume map showing the U.S. getting hosed with radiation:

        youtube /watch?v=yuUYUJwNmag
        This radiation also MUTATES viruses and makes newer and stronger variations.
        I’d like to recommend ENENEWS dot com to learn more about this, and this is NOT spam, it’s just that ENENEWS is the #1 site that has been reporting on these issues since Japan’s meltdowns.

        • Daniel Covington

          You stupid idiot. The radiation from Fukushima is extremely negligible unless fish at or near the coolant effluent site physically entrained radioactive particles in their systems and then were caught, transported to the US, and eaten. Why do I know this? I am sitting in the containment room of a nuclear reactor right now.

          • JF

            Ah ha! The brainwashed crowd!

  • Malcolm Reynolds

    Taxes on animal flatulence first and then make it difficult to feed the animals. Look at Nevada. War on meat…

  • Tatiana Covington

    Develop fusion power for desalination on a scale so grand as to allow reclaiming the entire Sahara. Clone meat (that’s already being done, allowing us to dispense with animals).

    These measures will abolish drought and meat shortages forever.

    • JasonD

      It won’t because of Jevon’s Paradox…

    • NOPE

      Clone meat? Yuck!!

      • Hammerstrike

        Retards? Yuck!!

  • dadelaw

    “So what will we do if this drought just keeps going and going and going?”

    “So what happens if the western half of the country returns to “normal”?”

    “What will we do then?”

    Michael, PLEASE stop asking silly questions. It is very irritating and just pandering. Tear-jerking. I’ve told you before, WE CAN JERK OUR OWN TEARS. We don’t need your help, thank you.

  • Coffeedrinker

    Start eating chicken as a substitute for beef and pork. Beef is too expensive and there is the chance of Made Cow Disease. I do like bacon with my eggs. I have cut way back on coffee–no headaches now if I stop drinking it.
    You can raise chickens in your backyard.
    Therefore, substitute:
    water for coffee
    chicken for beef
    chicken for pork
    rice and beans for chicken

    • JustAThought

      or just get rid of your cable and eat beef with the 200/mo you save.

      • FirstGarden

        Or get rid of both.

    • Jean Bush

      Chickens are just as pumped up as everything else. Pork is now raised less fatty then it used to be. Buy grass fed if you can afford it.

  • piccadillybabe

    Since the HARP program can create rain with chem trails, why are they not flying over the San Joaquin Valley in CA to create the cloud mass that generates torrents of rain? Every time they fly over my area in the NE, we get lots of rain in a day. Also, there is much talk among scientists that we are entering a mini-ice age because of diminishing sun spots called Maunder Minimum. It’s a cycle thing and we are in the throes of it right now (2011 to 2020). So this talk about “global warming” is very debatable.

  • Chris

    Raise the prices and most are going to go vegan. We already see
    how people cant afford food since everything is going up in price
    right through the roof right now.

  • Undecider

    Is there a correlation with geo-engineering?

  • Hammerstrike

    The Westboro Baptist Church: We told you so.

    • Guest

      Ha. Those self-righteous lunatics. Did you know that Fred Phelps, who died recently, had been excommunicated from the church last August?

      • Hammerstrike

        Thought, for many years they claimed that doom is coming and now it has come, a perfect storm.
        They claimed there is a curse and those who heard them disbelieved that but guess what, yes, there is a curse and a pretty nasty one.

        Do you trust the medias?

        Human-made economies are breaking-down just as the core of the Earth is heating up, volcanic activities and earthquakes are increasing? A coïncidence!

        • Gay Veteran

          “..They claimed there is a curse and those who heard them disbelieved that but guess what, yes, there is a curse and a pretty nasty one….”

          and a stopped clock is right twice a day

          • El Pollo de Oro

            Gay Veteran: What would be funny (in a really sick, twisted way) is if Flounder Church showed up at Westboro Baptist Church for a debate. And I doubt it would be a friendly debate because Flounder doesn’t care for Baptists. They could scream and hurl epithets at one another for hours.

          • Gay Veteran

            seem all “Christians” do is argue over the Bible.
            so much or the unchanging word of god

          • aghast

            You are just here to create disturbance. The Lord rebuke you, Satan.

          • Gay Veteran

            the only disturbance is created by trolls like you, pharisee

    • Gay Veteran

      ROFLOL

  • FirstGarden

    If a great many folks stopped eating meat, it would be very interesting to see the cancer statistics a few years out.

    • Jean Bush

      Better do some serious research, dude. Meat does NOT cause cancer; if so the population would have died off a million years ago, as protein and fat were the only food available before the advent of agriculture which is only 10,000 years ago. When people started eating grains, the diseases of civilization sprang up.

      • FirstGarden

        I’ve been researching this, on and off since 1971. Scholars, Nutritionists and Biochemists disagree with you. I could give you a list, but would you care to know??

        Of course, people didn’t get cancer from meat long ago. But in modern society, due to commercial greed, they put concrete in the feed of cattle, antibiotics, steroids, GMO corn and other things that you might find shocking. A chicken is pumped with steroids. It normally takes 17 weeks for a chicken to mature. Now they get there in 6 weeks. On and on it goes. I can give you tons of highly valid sources. But would you care to know?

        • Jean Bush

          I know all about that; I’ve been studying nutrition & general health for over 30 years. And it’s true that when foreign women move to the US they tend to get breast cancer but rarely in their own countries.
          But there are many factors involved in cancers besides steriods in meat. I’ve been eating regular meats for a long time and am cancer free. I can’t afford organic. I avoid GMO as much as possible as well as HFCS.

  • FirstGarden

    Michael – here’s how to avoid criticism:
    * Say nothing
    * Do nothing
    * Be nothing

    Then they’ll criticize you for that.

    Maybe they should write their own articles and show us how it’s done. :-)

    • MichaelfromTheEconomicCollapse

      It is true. No matter what I do I am going to be criticized by someone. :)

      Michael

  • MichaelfromTheEconomicCollapse

    You are right – that is very sad.

    Michael

  • DJohn1

    In regards to the cattle problem, could you possibly give us an update about what is happening with the federal government and the Bundy Farm. I hear they are killing cattle and destroying the baby cows. That they have prepared an armed conflict with the farmer. Is that true?

    • K

      It may be over. BLM is withdrawing in the faced of armed Militia arriving.

  • DJohn1

    I think we are looking at a land grab by the EPA. There is a species that is near extinction in the area and they are using that as an excuse to take all the cattle off the public land that they have been grazing for a long time.
    This in turn means less meat on the market. Which means the EPA is actually responsible for the increases in price for beef.
    The ranchers involved are running against a government media filter of the news. The concern right now is that a heavy handed government is likely to remove them from their own ranch, bankrupt them by destroying their cattle, and fining them for doing what they have always done since the 1880s. This little gem was started around 1994. The idea is to decimate all the ranchers in the area.
    Funny how this increase in Meat Prices is now coming. Put the blame where it belongs.
    I have suggested for a long time that the EPA is on very shaky legal grounds due to the large number of regulations and laws generated by this agency. But the Devil will have his due. And this has his smell all over it.
    I suggest that the goal is to put the meat producers out of business. The ruthless exploitation with mechanical automated farming is only a part of the problem.
    There is no doubt we have a really big problem with the drought. I suggest we look to HARP to see why that is occurring. I definitely sense an agenda that reaches deep into the government with this one.

    • gomurr

      You are absolutely correct. The BLM and USFS has been on a decades long mission in the western states to get rid of the family ranchers and farmers, and are succeeding.

  • K

    Because the Government would just as soon many of us became reliant on them, or died. They will not be back right away. But I sure hope he has the cattle they captured, checked by a vet. It would be just like them to infect those cattle with something, to take out the rest of his heard.

  • MichaelfromTheEconomicCollapse

    I apologize for not getting a new article up recently. I
    have been taking some time off and I have also been preparing for Passover. If you are not familiar with why a believer in Jesus would observe Passover, I would encourage you to check out this article that I just wrote…

    http://endoftheamericandream.com/passover

    Michael

    • JasonD

      You’re missing the biggest news story in years…

  • Jean Bush

    Animals have always been slain for human use, it’s part of the life cycle.

  • pookieamos

    This is precisely why I stock up when meat is on sale ! I buy in bulk , package and wrap it for storage ….Love it when my bacon goes on sale for $2.00 a pound. I believe this is an intentional man made crisis to purposely destroy our food choices…Geo-Engineering , rules and regulationś..

  • gomurr

    Don’t forget to place some of the blame on the USFS and BLM, which has been on a decades long campaign to rid the western states of family ranches and farms, and has had much success doing so.

    Now we have states like Michigan which are determined to restrict the raising, or owning, of any type of “farm” animal, by the average person who has some acreage and a desire to be a little more self sufficient by providing for themselves. I won’t even mention how many people have been harassed for attempting to grow their own food, even to the point of some local “official” (better known as an UN Agenda 21 enforcer) ordering their gardens destroyed. Oops….I mentioned it.

  • Jeroniomus

    High food prices would have a very good side to them — small scale farmers and hobby gardeners would be able to actually earn some money! I grow a large garden and I sell some of my produce to a local farmer, who resells at a 100% markup to his subscribers. He also sources several other hobby gardens. High food prices would be a blessing for all of us — we’d ramp up our production like mad!

    The local kids would have summer jobs growing fruit and vegetables too. It sure beats them sitting around playing videogames all summer. One trick to this kind of work is to start at 4am, first light, but before it gets hot. Knock off at 9 or 10am, done for the day, unless you want to put in a few hours in the cool evening hours.

    Bringing back small scale farming would also bring back very conservative and traditional minded political attitudes. There’s something about that kind of work that makes people very right wing.