Signs of global crop failures or just normal fluctuations

itellsya

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I was listening to this interview with Ice Age Farmer and Anita Bailey who apparently: did her Masters on disaster preparedness; wrote a book on survival techniques/homesteading; she also did a survey of the staff at FEMA (she thinks that even the staff of the US' disaster assistance program are woefully unprepared).

What interested me, and which i thought was relevant to this thread, was that although harvest quantities may appear 'normal', as we've seen elsewhere, harvests are also occurring earlier or later, and in turn the quality is often inferior and this can have numerous knock on effects.

Obviously the quality of harvests can be known by the grades awarded to the produce when going on the market but listening to what she had to say did make me wonder.

She says that, as a farmer herself, most farmers in her area got sufficient hay this year, but it came late. Starting at around the 14minute mark she says that late hay tends to be "stemmy" (lots of stems) and low in protein.

I only listened to about 30 minutes of the show but the below comes from around the 14 - 25 minute mark.

- A normal winter in her region begins in December but she had to start putting out hay in mid November, even though there was still grass, because the "cattle were constantly hungry" (she doesn't say why this was but she eludes later to the fact that colder conditions mean the cattle will eat more and perhaps there's something 'different' with plants).
- On top of this she was feeding them minerals, normally 100lbs will last her herd a month but this time they were going through them every 2 days. She says that this is because the hay and the grass are inadequate. She has had to resort to cattle cubes.
- She states that something must be different because this is affecting all of her friends too. Her concern is that this will definitely effect the cows and calves for the next year.
- Prices are holding steady for corn and so on, coffee is up.
- 11,000 animals went to auction this time, last year was only 4,000 - so people are selling off.
- She thinks that "feeders" are buying up the animals because there is sufficient, cheap grain to feed them - this may be because the grain that was harvested was not human grade (low protein, small kernels, etc) - and these buyers will plan on storing the meat for later use/sale
- That's why prices are going up on live cattle, and this will show in the supermarket next year.

One thing that comes to mind is the health of the cattle, because if the food they're eating is lacking in nutrients while they may be able to survive on through to the next year, they may be weakened, maybe less fertile, and they'll be much more susceptible to any diseases and viruses. This could be made worse by attempts using antibiotics and the like.

The interview:

Top 3 Prep Questions with Anita Bailey, Ph.D: COLD TIMES, Preparing for the Mini Ice Age

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•Premiered Jan 10, 2020



Ice Age Farmer
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Dr. Anita Bailey, author of COLD TIMES: Preparing for the Mini Ice Age, joins Christian again to look at the TOP 3 most frequently asked questions about preparing: (1) best growing method for beginners, (2) how to prepare in the city, and (3) what to do about family/spouse who won't prep? As well, we get an update on conditions in the Ozarks.
 

Aeneas

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What interested me, and which i thought was relevant to this thread, was that although harvest quantities may appear 'normal', as we've seen elsewhere, harvests are also occurring earlier or later, and in turn the quality is often inferior and this can have numerous knock on effects.
Wow, I just saw your post and that was highlighting big concerns back in January. Interesting what she says about the animals not getting the minerals in the food and also that they need much more than usual. Not a good sign.

Adding to this comes now the pandemic hoax which truly is going to compound the already existing problems. I wil see if I can add some observations in the coming days.
 

Aeneas

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Here is a re-posting of a post from the Corona thread made by Joan, which fits perfectly in this thread. It comes without comments, just a few highlights:

I don't, know if this issue has been brought up previously. Yesterday, I was driving around to purchase a few things, listening to CBC radio, there was a discussion in progress regarding agricultural farms in Ontario Canada and there reliance on migrant workers to plant and harvest crops. Most of the migrant agricultural workers come from Mexico or Trinidad. There length of stay is usually around 8 months, they receive room and board, they are paid minimum wage, also they pay into the CPP (Canadian Pension Plan) and the EI program. They reply on this income to support their families in the countries they originate from.

They will never be able to claim EI, they can claw back some monies through CPP, but I understand it's a pittance.This closing of borders has impacted the growing and harvesting of agricultural crops, making the food chain unpredictable.

One agricultural farm owner stated that he has advertised offered employment to young men in Ontario, indicated there had been no response, The reason given that it is heavy backbreaking work and most young people are not interested. I guess it's easier to accept a government handout, rather than to particapte in decent good honest work, that will benefit the population.

Another agricultural farm owner expressed her dismay and frustration about the inability to harvest produce, stating that they will have to lie in the fields and rot, there will be no cold crop plantings this year (broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage).

This will not only impact Ontario, here in BC where live, there are many agricultural farms in the Fraser valley and the Southern interior.

Some articles highlighting the problem



Also similar concerns are being voiced in the US this from RT. I am reminded of the Salinas Valley and all the agricultural farms located there.


So this begs the question from me. With all the call up of military reservists we are reading about in the media, why are they are not being mobilized to ensure some degree of food security for the population?

Seems to me another crisis waiting to happen, one of the agricultural farmers stated this will impact frozen and canned products, and will be noticeable before the end of the year, they were unable to predict for next year.

I note at this time with this media flood concerning the virus, no long range weather predictions are given. The area where I live they is concern of another 20 year event, where the area was flooded. The snow pack in the upper elevations is high, there as been some indications, river levels are inceasing and have flooded a riverwalk, close the the river in the city park. We have had lots of sunny, clear days lately.
 

Aeneas

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Highlighting the real problem in the agricultural industry, this repost from the Corona thread which was a response to Joan, is appropriate:
It's the same situation in Germany. The Corona Crisis makes it very obvious that German agriculture depends on mostly Eastern European migrant workers. Since they can no longer travel to Germany, there are now concerted efforts to recruit students who can no longer do their standard student jobs, such as working at coffee shops or libraries. Due to the back breaking work and the pay, which is minimum wage, they have trouble replacing the 300000 workers that are missing now.
 

Aeneas

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Here is another article:

Grain prices went sharply against this trend, surging in the second half of March and prompting observations in Russia that carbohydrates were becoming more valuable than hydrocarbons.

Pushing prices further up were fears that the Russian government would introduce restrictive export quotas. After that failed to materialize, the pressure eased. The quota of 7 million tons between April and June, which was announced last week, is well above the volume Russia sold to foreign buyers over the same period last year.

Corn and soybean markets were somewhat affected by concerns that Covid-19 lockdowns may affect major ports, Sizov said, but so far there has been no indication of this.

Overall, the pandemic has not had a major effect on grain markets, Sizov noted, adding that it appears likely that it will affect labor-intensive operations such as harvesting berries, tomatoes, and some other vegetables.

“You don’t need many hands to produce grains, considering you can use a combine harvester,” Sizov told RT. “A few people may deal with a big field. But a few people cannot pick a field full of berries.”


Seasonal workers usually involved in the planting and harvesting are now mostly under lockdown and unable to travel to farms
– which may be in other parts of their countries or even in other countries. Moreover, the actual work normally involves them being closer together than the prescribed “social distancing” rules allow.

“With the labor shortage caused by the quarantine, some of the produce will be left unharvested while the part that will get harvested will cost more. The global supply will shrink and the global prices will rise, Sizov predicted. “I don’t think there will be physical shortages, but there will be a significant price hike this year.
 

Laurs

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I do not know if this post about desert locust swarms hurting crops and threatening the food supply in Middle Eastern and East African countries belongs in this thread, so please feel free to move it elsewhere. A few days ago, i stumbled on a few articles about desert locust swarms across these areas, which threaten the food supply and livelihoods of at least 25 million people. Now the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned that the countries facing these swarms may have their food security further threatened, as international shipments of pesticides have been delayed due to the COVID-19. The UN revealed last month that the desert locust, which can eat the equivalent of its body mass in fresh food daily, stands to endanger the food security of some 25 million people due to favorable breeding conditions.
"If we don't have pesticides, our planes cannot fly and people cannot spray, and if we are not able to control these swarms, we will have big damage to crops."
'However, stocks of the repellents - particularly in Kenya - are now running low, and both shipping and production have been disrupted due to COVID-19 restrictions.'


So i was wondering what types of pesticides are they using and what new research may be out there.
It seems they foremost use the chemical Chlorpyrifos (CPS), an organophosphate pesticide used on crops, animals, and buildings, and in other settings, to kill a number of pests, including insects and worms. It acts on the nervous systems of insects by inhibiting the acetylcholinesterase enzyme. Chlorpyrifos was patented in 1966 by Dow Chemical Company.[6]
NB Just to compare, in the EU Chlorpyrifos was first licensed by EU states and the European Commission in 2005, despite health concerns having already arisen from animal tests at the time. What else is new, but then The European Commission in December 2019 said it would not renew a license for the insecticide chlorpyrifos after the European Union agency assessment.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said the risks of exposure to the chemical were of particular concern when it came to children's health. In August 2019, EFSA certified chlorpyrifos as being likely to cause mutations in genes and harm the nervous system.
The report cited "possible genotoxic effects as well as neurological effects during development."
"This means that no safe exposure level — or toxicological reference value — can be set for the substance."
Chlorpyrifos is already banned in Germany and six other EU countries, but it is still used on fruit plantations in much of southern Europe.

They also use an insect fungus (Metarhizium sp.), a biopesticide. (Why gigantic locust swarms are challenging governments and researchers)
About these two methods in use to combat these swarms, Associate Professor Manfred Hartbauer of the University of Graz in Austria has some interesting things to say:

'As a biologist who has specialised in insect research for the past 20 years, I believe current pest management regulations need to be revised. Currently, outbreaks are managed using chemical pesticides or an insect fungus (Metarhizium sp.). Neither is a good option.
Chemical (synthetic) pesticides may be harmful to the environment and humans because of their neurotoxic effects.'

'Insecticide fungi are applied as spores to kill the locusts. This can take a long period of time and requires certain climate conditions, so it often won’t work as expected.'

'The agent of choice that’s being used in the current outbreak countries is an insecticide that relies on fungus spores to kill the locusts. The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations ordered four tons, for US$76 million, to combat the current outbreak in East Africa.

The fungus is called Metarhizium sp. and it forms spores inside locusts, with fatal consequences. It was created and tested during a 13-year French research programme called LUBILOSA. It is found to infest locusts between about seven and 14 days after single treatment and it needs high humidity and moderate temperatures to work effectively. To my knowledge, few field studies are available that demonstrate the effect of this fungus on adult locusts. Only one was performed in Nigeria in the LUBILOSA field studies.'

'Three major problems are associated with this fungus-based pesticide:

First of all, the LUBILOSA user handbook from 1999 instructs users to dissolve the spores in diesel or kerosene – also called “mineral oils”. But spraying large areas of land with this would have serious environmental consequences. Mineral oils are known to contain toxins and carcinogens that can affect human health. Another problem is that they don’t degrade easily and stay in the environment for a long period of time.

The second problem is that infestation is not fast enough to control large swarms and it needs specific environmental conditions to work. The fungus-based insecticide takes about 14 days to affect adult locusts. To produce spores, it needs high humidity and moderate temperatures, more than 20°C at night and less than 38°C during the day. In areas where locusts cause massive problems, these climate conditions are rarely found.

The third problem is that current Food and Agriculture Organisation regulations favour a fungus over other pesticides. This regulation indirectly prevents the development and registration of novel, more effective botanical pesticides.'


Mr Hartbauer has developed a method of linseed oil, combined with some essential oils, that is highly effective in killing two of the most problematic locust species: Schistocerca gregaria and Locusta migratoria. Both species are very destructive and are responsible for most outbreaks in Africa. This botanical pesticide can be sprayed with conventional spraying devices and kills adult locusts within 24 hours.
Botanical pesticides have already proved successful against several insect pest species, but this is one of the first to target locust swarms effectively.

By the way, a major player in producing biopesticides is BASF (which incorporated Monsanto) (Global biopesticides Market 2019: Key Players Bayer, Monsanto Bioag, BASF, Marrone Bio Innovations, Isagro, Valent Biosciences, Certis).

Apparently, no one or organization (are there not many NGOs located in these areas?) in charge of these locust swarm problems has heard about Hartbauer or his method and now the biopesticides (insect fungus) are not available in large quantities at short notice and the CPS supplies are running low and now Covid19 related flight and supply restrictions have entered the stage so we shall see how this will work out.... not good for the people in the lands i would think.
 

itellsya

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This story could go in a number of threads but i figured here was probably a good place to track food shortage issues of all kinds.

Reuters just reported that the world's biggest pork processor has warned of meat shortages in the US, and they're shutting one of their biggest plants down indefinitely.

They claim it's because coronavirus has infected a number of employees at the plant. But, if that was the sole reason could they not just hire more? Even if only later on? Is it because they're thinking that they won't need so many plants - perhaps because of people's financial situation - that it's better to close it down now under the cover of corona?

They describe the impact this will have immediately on farmers, and then the consumer. They're also not the only food processors to put some plants on 'idle'...



US meat shortage warning from world's biggest pork processor, shuts down 1 plant indefinitely


Tom Polansek
Reuters
Sun, 12 Apr 2020 18:20 UTC






Smithfield
© REUTERS/Tom Polansek/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A truck arrives at Smithfield Foods' pork plant in Smithfield, Virginia, U.S. October 17, 2019. Picture taken October 17, 2019.
Smithfield Foods, the world's biggest pork processor, said on Sunday it will shut a U.S. plant indefinitely due to a rash of coronavirus cases among employees and warned the country was moving "perilously close to the edge" in supplies for grocers.

Slaughterhouse shutdowns are disrupting the U.S. food supply chain, crimping availability of meat at retail stores and leaving farmers without outlets for their livestock.

Smithfield extended the closure of its Sioux Falls, South Dakota, plant after initially saying it would idle temporarily for cleaning. The facility is one of the nation's largest pork processing facilities, representing 4% to 5% of U.S. pork production, according to the company.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem said on Saturday that 238 Smithfield employees had active cases of the new coronavirus, accounting for 55% of the state's total. Noem and the mayor of Sioux Falls had recommended the company shut the plant, which has about 3,700 workers, for at least two weeks.

"It is impossible to keep our grocery stores stocked if our plants are not running," Smithfield Chief Executive Ken Sullivan said in a statement on Sunday. "These facility closures will also have severe, perhaps disastrous, repercussions for many in the supply chain, first and foremost our nation's livestock farmers."

Smithfield said it will resume operations in Sioux Falls after further direction from local, state and federal officials. The company will pay employees for the next two weeks, according to the statement.

The company has been running its plants to supply U.S. consumers during the outbreak, Sullivan said.

"We have a stark choice as a nation: we are either going to produce food or not, even in the face of COVID-19," he said.

Other major U.S. meat and poultry processors, including Tyson Foods Inc (TSN.N), Cargill Inc [CARG.UL] and JBS USA [JBS.UL] have already idled plants in other states.
 

Aeneas

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They claim it's because coronavirus has infected a number of employees at the plant. But, if that was the sole reason could they not just hire more? Even if only later on? Is it because they're thinking that they won't need so many plants - perhaps because of people's financial situation - that it's better to close it down now under the cover of corona?
I agree itellsya, that it sounds strange. Why close down the plants when hiring more staff would be the simple solution? I could be wrong, but I can't see that it would be because of people's financial situation as pork is a cheap meat.

I remember earlier in the threat from November 2019, that:
Pork Pile-Up Continues: Bacon Levels In US Cold Storage Surge To 48-Year High
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Cold storage facilities across the U.S. have just hit record-high levels of pork bellies, the cut of the pig used to make bacon, reported Bloomberg. Much of the oversupply problem stems from farmers' increasing herd sizes ahead of a possible trade deal that was expected to occur earlier this year.
Could the problem be that the US due to the trade deal problems and then the coupled with the Covid19 has a massive storage of pork? Some trade deal did happen but perhaps China did not take as much pork as the US had wanted or the 'pandemic' blocked the actual transport of the pork to China, thus leaving the US with massive amount of pork bellies. In such a climate prices drop, and farmers reduce the production.
Or has the swine fever hit the US, but it is being kept quiet? When we think about how long the Covid19 virus was around before we heard about it, then that could be a possibility.

Just speculation, but something does not seem to add up.
 

Aeneas

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I am re-posting this from the Corona thread as it deals with the shutdown of pork processing in Iowa.
I live in Iowa, in the US. We’ve had at least 3 big meat processing plants shut down due to the Coronavirus in recent days. Iowa is the leading producer of pork in the United States.

Farmers are putting ads on Craigslist and other sites trying to sell their pigs, going as low as 50$ for a 300 pound hog. They have no where to take the pigs to have them processed, so they’re trying to sell them as cheap as they can. Otherwise many farmers said they’d have to just kill the pigs and bury them because it’s not viable to try to keep feeding pigs growing past market weight.

In Wisconsin, one state over, Dairy farmers are dumping milk out because of the decreased demand in milk.

Iowa is also a very big producer of corn and soybeans. As of right now it’s unclear how much of an impact the Coronavirus will have on the planting and harvesting season.
 

Aeneas

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As the coronavirus continues to infect more and more people, food supply chains have started to become more strained in recent days. It was announced yesterday; the world's biggest pork producer is closing a primary U.S plant indefinitely after a coronavirus outbreak amongst employees.

Smithfield Foods Inc. will halt its pork-processing facility in South Dakota, which accounts for 4% to 5% of U.S pork production. The company also warned that closures across the country are taking American meat supplies "perilously close to the edge" of shortfalls. This is just one of the latest examples of the coronavirus beginning to disrupt food chains at a more significant scale rapidly.

Smithfield farms
We anticipated this, as we reported on April 1 that food supply chains were in the early stages of being strained. Many countries were preparing many weeks ago by cutting back on exports to begin stockpiling. Surprisingly, dairy farmers in the United States are starting to dump milk because there was no place for them to go as the marketplace for dairy products has been affected by the closures of restaurants, schools, hotels, and food service businesses.

trucks dump milk

One would begin to believe history might not be repeating itself, but it is undoubtedly starting to rhyme. During the great depression of the 1930s, the hardest-hit industry was farming. Farm incomes dropped by nearly two-thirds at the beginning of the 1930s. Dairy farmers dumped countless gallons of milk into the street instead of accepting a penny a quart.

dairy farmers dump milk
During World War 1, farmers had produced record crops and livestock to keep everyone fed. However, when prices started to fell, they tried to harvest even more to pay their debts and living expenses. In the early 30s, prices dropped so low that many farmers went bankrupt and lost their farms. In some cases, the price of a bushel of corn fell to just eight to ten cents. Some farmers even began burning corn rather than coal in their stoves because corn was cheaper.

However, there is a dramatic difference today. Prices are not dropping; in fact, grocery bills are getting more expensive by the day. Supply chains are being disrupted due to the transportation and of course processing of a vast selection of foods.

[...]

Another alarming headline that came late last month was the warning from the United Nations Food and Agriculture organization who has now warned of global food shortages in the coming months.

"The worst that can happen is that governments restrict the flow of food," Maximo Torero, chief economist of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, said.

Harvests have been good and staple crops remain in demand, but a shortage of field workers brought on by the pandemic and a move towards protectionism — tariffs and export bans — could lead to problems in the coming weeks, Torero said, according to the report.

"All measures against free trade will be counterproductive. Now is not the time for restrictions or putting in place trade barriers. Now is the time to protect the flow of food around the world," Torero added, the news course reported.

Some countries have begun to protect their food supplies by restricting exports, which Torero reportedly said could lead to an overall decrease in trade and a subsequent decline in food production.

"Trade barriers will create extreme volatility," warned Torero. "[They] will make the situation worse. That's what we observe in food crises."

Another measure that could threaten the world's food supply is that nations have issued stay-at-home orders at varying levels of enforcement. If agriculture workers are legally unable to harvest crops, it could cause a lapse in food flow.

"Coronavirus is affecting the labour force and the logistical problems are becoming very important," said Torero. "We need to have policies in place so the labour force can keep doing their job. Protect people too, but we need the labour force. Major countries have yet to implement these sorts of policies to ensure that food can keep moving."

One thing is clear, there certainly are supply chain disruptions going on within the food industry globally, the question is, how bad will it get?
 

Aeneas

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In modern industrial farming, it is about real-estate but on a farm scale. This means that for these farms, the animals when reaching maturity for slaughter has to be sold as the space they are occupying is already under demand from the next generation below. It is a production machine. This is illustrated in the problems with the pigs not being slaughtered and the following article gives another example, which is chickens.
American Farms Cull Millions Of Chickens Amid Virus-Related Staff Shortages At Processing Plants


A significant concern that readers should have during an economic collapse and pandemic is food security. We've noted over April that troubling news is developing deep inside America's food supply chain network, suggesting shortages and rapid food inflation could be ahead.
The reason behind the disruptions begins with meatpacking plants across the country are shuttering operations because of virus-related issues. At the moment, we've reported at least 10-12 large operations have gone offline in the last several weeks, which could result in pork shortages in the first or second week in May.
"Almost a third of U.S. pork capacity is down, the first big poultry plants closed on Friday and experts are warning that domestic shortages are just weeks away," reported Bloomberg.


We also highlighted additional risks to beef and poultry capacity at processing plants that were starting to develop.
Now, more specifically, diving into the world of poultry, new developments from Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia, a region known to be a top producer of chickens not just in the country but the world, is experiencing logistical issues due to coronavirus.
The Baltimore Sun is reporting that 2 million chickens are set to be culled across farms in Maryland and Delaware amid coronavirus-related staffing shortages at meatpacking plants.
We've heard the same story with pork, turkey, and beef processing plants across the country. Reducing operations or shutting down due to virus-related illnesses among staff.
"With reduced staffing, many plants are not able to harvest chickens at the pace they planned for when placing those chicks in chicken houses several weeks ago," before strict social distancing rules went into effect, trade group for the Delmarva poultry industry said in a statement.


The trade group said poultry plants across the Delmarva Peninsula, which includes parts of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, are struggling to keep plants operating as worker attendance plunges because of virus-related illnesses.
The group said a large farm on the peninsula has turned to "depopulation" this month after processing plants were unable to accept chickens because of reduced capacity. It said culling chickens are last-resort options.

"Depopulation has been done in the past on Delmarva and in the U.S. in response to cases of the infectious avian disease," said James Fisher, a spokesman for Delmarva Poultry.
The American Veterinary Medical Association approved the extermination methods to cull the chickens on the peninsula.
The Sun notes farms on the peninsula are a major producer of poultry. The region grew 608 million birds last year, producing upwards of 4.3 billion pounds of processing meat.
The problem developing, is that reduced output at poultry processing plants and farmers culling flocks could trigger shortages of the meat.
 

Aeneas

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Food shortages are possible if the trend shown in this article continues. One highlight from the article is:
Soaring food inflation came one day after President Trump said he would be issuing an executive order to address meat shortages.

"Because of the virus, meat slaughtering is 40% below where it needs to be to handle all of the animals coming to market, said Arlan Suderman," chief commodities economist at INTL FCStone.
The article: Beef Prices Soar To Record High As Meatpacking Plants Shutter

Beef Prices Soar To Record High As Meatpacking Plants Shutter
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by Tyler Durden
Thu, 04/30/2020 - 06:05

Wholesale American beef prices jumped 6% to a record high of $330.82 per 100 pounds, a 62% increase from the lows in February, according to Bloomberg, citing new USDA data.

The surge in beef prices comes at a time when the nation's food supply chain network has been severely damaged by meatpacking plants going offline due to virus-related shutdowns and worker shortage. Bloomberg highlights the latest plant closures in the map below:


Soaring food inflation came one day after President Trump said he would be issuing an executive order to address meat shortages.
"Because of the virus, meat slaughtering is 40% below where it needs to be to handle all of the animals coming to market, said Arlan Suderman," chief commodities economist at INTL FCStone.

"Processing plants were generally in favor of the executive order that would give them liability cover when reopening," Suderman said. "Yet, the order still does not solve the problem of employee absenteeism." At least 20 workers in meat and food processing have died and 5,000 have tested positive or forced to self-quarantine due to coronavirus, according to the United Food and Commercial Workers International union.
Just days ago, Tyson Foods warned in a full-page ad in the New York Times on Sunday that the "food supply chain is breaking."
And with tens of millions of Americans out of work, a crashed economy that is plunging into depression, and rapid food inflation -- this could all suggest that the evolution of the virus crisis is not just an economic crisis but also social instabilities are ahead.
 

Laurs

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It seems that some shuttered meat processing plants are slowly coming back online. Tyson Foods spokesman Gary Mickelson confirmed to the DCNF that the Iowa plant was back online as of Thursday.
Even so, the country still has hemorrhaged about 38% of its total pork processing capacity, according to Steve Meyer, an economist at Kerns and Associates in Ames, Iowa. The lack of production prompted Costco, Hy-Vee and Walmart's Sam's Clubs to limit how much meat customers can purchase.

 

Laurs

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It seems the desert locust swarms follow the winds and are arriving from East Africa via Pakistan in India, threatening food supplies there. New technology is used to track and forecast wind patterns and so predict where the swarms are going. The desert locust is a passive flying species that typically follows the wind. Knowing wind patterns can help U.N. authorities pre-position material and personnel in an effort to prevent croplands from being destroyed. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food Programme warn that the risk of famine in the region is rising quickly. The locust infestation, combined with the coronavirus pandemic, is threatening food security for hundreds of millions of people. FAO says the desert locust is “the most destructive migratory pest in the world,” capable of wiping out crops and pasturelands.


Farmers in India's state of Utter Pradesh are urged to beat drums and spray pesticides to battle the swarms, yeah, to further make sure that the lands become completely barren.
Beating Drums, Spraying Pesticides: India's Uttar Pradesh Gears Up For Devastating Locust Attack
'New Delhi (Sputnik): Agricultural land has already been inundated in Indian states which share a border with Pakistan, which has also found itself grappling with an infestation. Swarms of locusts commonly number 40 million; the insect is known to cause major damage by attacking crops.'
 

itellsya

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Germany just shutdown Europe's largest meat processing plant following testing for the coronavirus, and then claims of an 'outbreak'.

As has been discussed on this thread, when the US shutdown its meat packing plants it led to food shortages and farmers being thrown out of business thus endangering the food supply for years to come, and one would suspect the same fate could await Germany and parts of Europe...


Lockdown returns to German district with Europe's largest meat processing plant closed following coronavirus testing


Holly Ellyatt
CNBC
Tue, 23 Jun 2020 06:59 UTC




germany coronavirus
© Alexander Koerner
Members of the technical emergency service secure an area within an apartment complex used by the Toennies meat company to house labourers from eastern Europe during the coronavirus pandemic on June 20, 2020 in Verl near Guetersloh, Germany.
A district in Germany where there has been an acute outbreak of coronavirus cases at a meat-processing plant is being put back into lockdown, the premier of North Rhine-Westfalia said Tuesday.

State premier Armin Laschet said he was putting the district of Guetersloh, home to around 360,000 people, back under lockdown until June 30. The move comes after at least 1,000 workers at a meat processing plant in the area contracted Covid-19.

Bars, museums, galleries, cinemas, sports halls, gyms and swimming pools in Guetersloh will now be closed, and picnics and barbecues prohibited, according to Reuters.

Germany was lauded throughout the coronavirus crisis in Europe as a country that had seemingly managed to control the virus' spread, largely through an organized and early contact tracing system, and to have kept the nationwide death toll relatively low.

Now, however, the country has seen a resurgence of cases due to several localized outbreaks in different parts of the country. The surge in infections prompting the reproduction or 'R' rate (which refers to the number of people that an infected individual goes on to infect, on average) to jump to 2.88 at the weekend (it had come down to 2.76 on Monday, and is a moving 4-day average which reflects infection rates about one to two weeks ago). Experts want to keep the R rate under one to be able to control and slow the spread of the virus.

The Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases, collating Germany's coronavirus data and reporting a further 537 cases Monday, bringing the total recorded to 190,359, said that outbreaks primarily in North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony are primarily responsible for the increasing case numbers.

The RKI said that as well as outbreaks continuing to be seen in nursing homes and hospitals, outbreaks have been reported in several German states "including in institutions for asylum seekers and refugees, in meat processing plants and logistics companies, among seasonal harvest workers and in connection with religious events and family gatherings."

The biggest contributing factor to the surge in cases has been an outbreak at the meat-processing plant in Guetersloh in North Rhine-Westphalia, the state with by far the largest amount of coronavirus cases, with over 41,000, according to RKI data.

Over 1,000 employees at the factory, the largest such plant in Europe and run by German meat giant Tonnies, tested positive for Covid-19, the RKI said Monday. Some reports suggest more than 1,300 people are infected at the plant, where around 7,000 people are employed.

Toennies
© Sascha Schuermann
The Toennies meat packing plant stands during the coronavirus pandemic in Rheda-Wiedenbrueck on June 19, 2020 near Guetersloh, Germany.
The plant was promptly closed and all employees (mainly Bulgarian and Romanian workers) quarantined, as well as their household members, as the authorities feared a rampant spread of the virus. All schools and day-care centers in the district were also closed and will remain so until mid-August.

Nonetheless, the outbreak at the meat-processing plant has caused a furor in Germany, with the country's Labor Minister Hubertus Heil saying Sunday that the meat processing company should pay damages, according to public broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

"There must be a civil liability of the company," Heil told a Bild online broadcast, Deutsche Welle reported, with Heil reportedly adding that the company had "taken an entire region hostage" by the company, that he accused of violating the coronavirus restrictions.

The head of the meat processing firm, Clemens Tonnies, took to Twitter on Sunday, saying that the company "accepts its responsibility" and that it would pay for coronavirus testing in the Guetersloh district but he refused to step down following the crisis.

The outbreak at the plant has put a spotlight on working conditions within the meat processing industry in Germany, but it is not the only area that has seen a rise in cases.

The RKI said Monday that a large Covid-19 outbreak in the district of Goettingen in Lower Saxony was traced to family gatherings and another, in Magdeburg in the state of Saxony-Anhalt, emerged in several schools that are now also closed. In Berlin, an outbreak there of 85 cases has been linked to members of a religious community.
 
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