by Tom Olago
Is the United States about to experience a severe food shortage, with prices of basic foods such as meats, fruits and vegetables skyrocketing? Based on recent agricultural and climate assessments, that is not only what we can expect – but what is already happening right now. Here are some excerpts of the frightful statistics and scenarios researched by Michael Snyder, in his article: 15 Reasons Why Your Food Bill Is Going To Start Soaring:
“The state of California, which produces the most vegetables in the U.S, is going through its worst drought ever, with 91.6% of the state experiencing severe to exceptional drought. 2013 was its worst year ever and there has been no improvement so far in 2014. According to CNBC, it is being projected that California farmers are going to let half a million acres of farmland sit idle this year because of the crippling drought. Much of the western U.S. has been exceedingly dry for an extended period of time, and this is hurting huge numbers of farmers and ranchers all the way from Texas to the west coast.”
Snyder highlights some notable consequences:
– The size of the total U.S. cattle herd is now the smallest that it has ever been since 1951.
– The federal government has declared portions of 11 states to be “disaster areas”, and California farmers are going to leave half a million acres sitting idle this year because of the extremely dry conditions.
– Things are probably going to get worse before they get better (if they ever do). It has been quite common for that region of North America to experience severe droughts that last for decades. In fact, one drought actually lasted for about 200 years. So there is the possibility that the drought that has begun in the state of California may not end during your entire lifetime.
– According to NBC News, businesses across the region are shutting down, large numbers of workers are leaving to search for other work, and things are already so bad that it “calls to mind the Dust Bowl of the 1930s”.
Celeste Cantu, the general manager for the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority, is quoted as saying that this drought could have a “cataclysmic” impact on food prices. Mike Wade, the executive director of the California Farm Water Coalition, recently explained which crops he believes will be hit the hardest: annual row crops as tomatoes, broccoli, lettuce, cantaloupes, garlic, peppers and corn. Wade said consumers can also expect higher prices and reduced selection at grocery stores, particularly for products such as almonds, raisins, walnuts and olives.
The rest of the nation is extremely dependent on the fruits and vegetables grown in California. Here are some statistics regarding what percentage of U.S. produce is grown in the state:
•99 % of the artichokes
•44 % of asparagus
•67 %of carrots
•50% bell peppers
•89 % of cauliflower
•94 % of broccoli
•95 % of celery
•90 % of leaf lettuce
•83 % of Romaine lettuce
•83 % of fresh spinach
•33% of fresh tomatoes
• 86 % of lemons
•90 % of avocados
•84 % of peaches
•88 % of fresh strawberries
•97 % of fresh plums
And as though the threat to these products wasn’t bad enough, Tim Quinn, the executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies is quoted: “There are places in California that if we don’t do something about it, tens of thousands of people could turn on their water faucets and nothing would come out.” The Sierra Nevada snowpack that most Californians depend on for their water supply is currently only about 15 percent of what it normally is. As the New York Times recently explained, this is going to be absolutely devastating for Californians when the warmer months arrive…the current drought has already eclipsed previous water crises, like the one in 1977, which a meteorologist friend likened to the “Great Depression” of droughts. In addition, the underground aquifers that so many California farmers depend upon are being drained at a staggering rate. Climatologist Bill Patzert of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory was quoted stating that “Ranchers in the West are selling off their livestock…farmers all over the Southwest, from Texas to Oregon, are fallowing in their fields because of a lack of water. For farmers and ranchers, this is a painful drought.”
Snyder continues, describing an existing graphic scenario: “If the drought does continue to get worse, small agricultural towns all over California are going to die off…consider what is already happening to the little town of Mendota…The farms in and around Mendota are dying of thirst. The signs are everywhere. Orchards with trees lying on their sides, as if shot. Former farm fields given over to tumbleweeds. Land and cattle for sale, cheap. Large numbers of agricultural workers continue to hang on, hoping that somehow there will be enough work for them…Off-season, by mid-February, idled workers are clearly anxious. Farmworkers and everyone else who waits out the winter for work (truckers, diesel providers, packing suppliers and the like) are nearing the end of the savings they squirrel away during the season. The season starts again in March, April at the latest, but no one knows who will get work when the season begins, or how much. People are scared, panicked even.”
And this litany of farming and agricultural woes is by no means confined to the United States. Michael Snyder elaborates:
“Extremely unusual weather patterns are playing havoc with crops all over the planet right now. The following is an excerpt from a recent article by Lizzie Bennett…Peru, Venezuela, and Bolivia have experienced rainfall heavy enough to flood fields and rot crops where they stand. Volcanic eruptions in Ecuador are also creating problems due to cattle ingesting ash with their feed leading to a slow and painful death. Parts of Australia have been in drought for years affecting cattle and agricultural production. Rice production in China has been affected by record low temperatures. Large parts of the UK are underwater, and much of that water is sea water which is poisoning the soil. So wet is the UK that groundwater is so high it is actually coming out of the ground and adding to the water from rivers and the sea. With the official assessment being that groundwater flooding will continue until May, and that’s if it doesn’t rain again between now and then. The River Thames is 65 feet higher than normal in some areas, flooding town after town as it heads to the sea.”
As food prices rise, our incomes are staying about the same. The following is from a CBS News article entitled “Food prices soar as incomes stand still”: While the government says prices are up 6.4 percent since 2011, chicken is up 18.4 percent, ground beef is up 16.8 percent and bacon has skyrocketed up 22.8 percent, making it a holiday when it’s on sale…median household income has fallen for five years in a row. So average Americans are going to have to make their food budgets stretch more than they ever have before as this drought drags on.”
So what should we do about it all? Snyder summarizes: “Worrying about this drought is not going to change anything. Instead of worrying, we should all be doing what we can to store some things up while food is still relatively cheap. Our grandparents and our great-grandparents that lived during the days of the Great Depression knew the wisdom of having a well-stocked food pantry, and it would be wise to follow their examples.”
These trends are of prophetic significance as Jesus Christ clearly stated, concerning the end-times:
“…and there shall be famines” (Matthew 24:6).
“…and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.” (Mark 13:8).
The Book of Revelation, Chapter 6 describes the end-time “4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse”:
“5. When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand.
6. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.” (Revelation 6:5-6).
According to beginningandend.com, “The Third Horseman brings famine and starvation to the world. The “measure of wheat” was the equivalent of the average amount of bread a working man would eat in a day, while a penny, or denarius, was the average pay for a day’s wages. So a working man could afford just enough bread for one person, with nothing to add to it, rendering him unable to feed his family.
For the believer in Jesus Christ, besides doing what we can to protect ourselves and our families, we can take comfort in Jesus’ words in Matthew 6: 31-33:
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”