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June 7, 2022

Are We on the Verge of a Food Crisis?

Inflation, soaring fuel prices, shrinking food supplies, and other events and circumstances are threatening what we most take for granted.

Need to lose a few pounds? Lucky you. A food shortage may be coming, and a New York Times op-ed is actually celebrating it.

“Inflation has the potential to drive welcome change for the planet if Americans think differently about the way they eat,” writes Annaliese Griffin. “Climate change has motivated some to eat less resource-intensive meat and more vegetables, grains and legumes, but this movement has not reached the scale necessary to bring needed change — yet.”

Relax. Not even Griffin, in her eco-theological exuberance, is talking about eating out of garbage trucks or stoning cows to death in their fields like they did in socialist Venezuela. At least not yet. But another op-ed has also gotten our attention:

“From my family’s farm to the State Committee for the USDA Farm Service Agency to the House Agriculture Committee,” writes South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, “I have worked in agriculture in some capacity since I could walk. Now … I serve alongside a third-generation cattle rancher, Lt. Gov. Larry Rhoden. We are the only farmer-rancher pair to lead a state’s executive branch, and we are both deeply concerned: America’s food supply system is at risk.”

Noem notes that when an entity controls your food supply, it controls you. She writes: “For years now, foreign countries have been investing in our food supply chain, buying up the chemical and fertilizer companies that make American agriculture possible. Purchasing processing facilities, they have introduced vulnerability into the food supply chains Americans rely on to eat. Today, China is buying up millions of acres of land across the United States, following the same blueprint they have used in other countries for years.”

We know all about Communist China’s military ambitions, which involve creating islands where none existed so as to turn them into naval ports and airstrips and military bases, thereby strengthening its sphere of influence. We also know about China’s manufacturing juggernaut and its rapaciousness when it comes to natural resources and minerals. So why on earth are we allowing the ChiComs to buy millions of acres of our land? Is it possible that they can’t feed their own people from Chinese soil? Or might they be laying claim to American lands because they intend to one day exert their influence over us? As Noem writes, “We have not yet realized our strategic vulnerability when it comes to our nation’s food supply.”

And it’s not just China. Consider the American beef industry. After all, what could be more American than beef, right? Wrong. Noem notes that four mega-packers now control 85% of the industry, and two of those conglomerates are located in Brazil. One of those companies, JBS Foods, was hacked last May, causing 20% of our nation’s beef supply to go offline overnight. Again, why are we allowing ourselves to become so vulnerable?

Then there are the numerous and odd “disruptive events” that we noted a few weeks ago: “A number of factories, logistical centers, and food processing plants have caught fire or exploded, including two that had planes crash on them,” writes Jeff Reynolds, who then goes on to chronicle an unnerving number of these events.

Noem has also noticed these events. But, she writes: “Mainstream media outlets are busy attempting to lampoon anyone who expresses even the remotest concern about incidents at food processing facilities today. The repeated refrain is ‘there’s no evidence of any wrongdoing, so drop it.’ But absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

If you think we’re scaremongering, ask yourself: Did you ever imagine that baby formula would one day become a scarce commodity in these United States? Congress has since taken notice, but why did it ever get to such a point here in the land of plenty — especially with such an elemental and essential food item?

Writing back in March against the backdrop of Russia’s war with Ukraine, columnist Glenn Harlan Reynolds noted the effects it was already having on wheat, of which Ukraine is a major supplier, and fertilizer, of which Russia is the world’s leading supplier. (Nor should we be comforted that China is the world’s second-leading supplier of fertilizer, nor that unfertilized farmland is 40% less productive than fertilized land.)

“With the triple-barreled threat of inflation, soaring fuel prices, and shrunken food supplies,” Reynolds wrote, “the world faces something like the same fate, and once again those responsible are unlikely to pay the price. (But maybe some will. After all, food shortages led to the Arab Spring riots and the overturning of governments.)”

What to make of this slow-moving disaster in the making? Time will tell. And while we can’t blame Joe Biden for the entirety of the “triple-barreled threat” Reynolds cites, we can certainly remind ourselves that elections have consequences.

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