The New Dust Bowl and Why So Many Could Starve.

Posted: August 14, 2012 in Big Government, Economics, Preparedness, Self Sufficiency

We are in the middle of what is the worst drought since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. This act of mother nature, has been exacerbated by poor farming practices. So are the farmers to blame for the new Dust Bowl that is quickly approaching?

Many farmers are subsidized by the Federal government and paid to not grow crops. As a matter of fact, the USDA is reporting that more applications for this “conservation” program are at an all time high. (Story here)

Others receive Federal dollars that cover their bottom line which then allows them to grow crops purely for profit. As discsussed time and again here, profit is not an issue itself, but merciless greed with profit as the driving motive is highly dangerous especially so when government is subsidizing such behavior. (All that you have to do is look at what merciless greed and government subsidies did to the housing market) Still yet some farmers are given subsidies to grow crops to be used for fuel, without going into detail about how insanely inefficient this is, it is simple enough to say that we should not be burning possible food as fuel, it is ludicrous. (I will save the rant about ethanol fuels for another day)

The real issues at hand here are that consumer demand does not necessarily determine what is grown, the commodities and futures market determine what is grown, or government mandates as I previously mentioned. I understand that speculation in the commodity futures market helps maintain steady prices year round but what has been going on is purely gambling. The speculated prices are driving the farmers to grow what will make them the most money right now with no regard to potential failure in the future.

With the main motivating factor behind farming becoming profit and the fact that farmers are guaranteed to get paid through subsidies regardless of whether crops are successful or not, there is little regard for the land itself. The same crops are grown year after year depleting the soil of nutrients to the point that harsh chemical (petroleum based) fertilizers must be continuously dumped onto the land so that crops will even grow. Methods implemented after the first dust bowl in the 1930s such as crop rotation have been thrown to the wayside in favor of government funded profit farming. What has resulted is a wholesale erosion of the topsoil and fertile farm ground that had made America the breadbasket of the world. We are faced with dry, malnourished, crevice filled, cracking psuedo soil. The formerly substantial farm land of the midwest is now an oversized junkie hooked on Federal dollars and fertilizers.

What is the incentive for a farmer to take care of his land if he will be paid regardless of success or failure? Or paid to not even grow crops under the USDA’s conservation program as discussed and linked to earlier.

Is this not just welfare for farmers? We call it a “subsidy” just as we call welfare “assistance”, it’s just a matter of semantics. Substantively farm subsidies are welfare. What is the incentive for the farmer to do the right thing? Very little. What is the incentive to do the wrong thing? Money and quite a bit of it! But back to the point….

Dying crops, and low supply of needed crops are serious threats to American prosperity but not the only threats. Rivers across the land are drying up including the Mighty Mississippi. (Story here) It is safe to assume that reservoirs, wells, and water tables are going dry from lack of replenishment as well.

When this new dust bowl is at full throat and we see a mass failure of crops coupled with skyrocketing prices at our stores due to shortages of supply and a lack of clean drinking water, there will be panic. But should there be?

For decades America has had an overabundance of food. So much so that we have experienced an obesity epidemic. Americans are notorious for throwing away tons of food per year. As a result it has been difficult to imagine that this could ever change. The practices of canning, drying, freezing, and freeze drying were relegated by society to be the activities of paranoid people. Why stockpile food? Why store and preserve food? There is a ready supply just up the street at Wal Mart!

Government policies have reflected this disdain for preparedness. The Department of Homeland Security classifies anyone with stores of food to be potential terror suspects. The very people who should be encouraging preparedness among the populace have discouraged it at every turn. Laws against home gardening and practices such as rain water collection have furthered the issue of unpreparedness to ridiculous levels. This is such an epidemic that if you buy 6 cans of green beans at the store the cashier asks if you’re “filling your fallout shelter” with a smirk. The arrogance about what we have is obscene and our nations consumerism mindset needs adjusted.

Policies, laws, and practices have created a very unfavorable circumstance for a new dust bowl to occur in. The people of the United States are ill prepared and unexpectant. I fear that as a result many will go hungry. Unfortunately at this point the best thing that we can do is pray for rain in the fall and snow in the winter and put some food and water in the pantry.


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