When the Food Runs Out

Food shortages are about to become a reality—and it’s our own fault.
From the November-December 2007 Trumpet Print Edition

Whatever happened to the wheat mountains, the great surpluses of butter, dairy and plenteous agricultural products once stockpiled in North America, the British dominions and Europe? We do not hear of huge surpluses in food production anymore, of massive stockpiled reserves for shipment to countries in famine or as a hedge against times of extreme weather or blight by disease.

Those days are over. In America, for example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is projecting wheat supplies for the 2007-2008 crop year will drop to their lowest level in 59 years.

The days of plenty are a thing of the past. Prepare now for increasing shortages of staple food products.

Twelve years ago, the Trumpet said this about the prospect of a national food shortage occurring in America: “In 1994, a Washington-based research group warned of a potential national food shortage and its consequences by or before 2030. But figure in the increasing occurrences of floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, drought and other unnatural disasters and it is sure to occur much sooner than predicted.

“With food as our largest export product, the United States stands to lose the most in any trade war if any ‘natural’ or unnatural disasters should cause us to have a bad year. National reserves for our own needs, in case of just such an emergency, are very small and would barely last long enough to get us through to the next growing season. Who would help us, the greatest humanitarian nation ever, should we have a crisis?” (March 1994, emphasis mine).

Who indeed, with the U.S. having become the second-most hated nation in the world, next to tiny, embattled Israel!

Just what are the facts relating to worldwide food production? The reality is that a number of historical leaders in agricultural exports are becoming net importers of food products.

A Multitude of Causes

A peek at the stock market reaction to investment in basic staple-diet products tells the story. Global agricultural commodity markets are on a roller-coaster ride, with supplies dropping and prices rising. The price of corn has shot through the roof due to a combination of bad weather and increasing demand for the crop from the growing ethanol industry. The price of wheat escalated 54 percent in just three months earlier this year and shows no sign of a slowdown. In the global grain-growing industry, land devoted to cultivating wheat and barley has been declining for the past 25 years. Demand is rapidly overtaking supply in our grain markets.

World food prices have risen by almost a third in the past year, according to Australia’s Westpac-National Farmers Federation Commodity Index. Senior Westpac economist Justin Smirk stated that one reason for the rising prices was Australia’s drought, which has hurt the nation’s critical beef, grain and dairy exports. Other contributors to the high prices include adverse weather conditions in Europe and in the United States.

The St. Petersburg Times reported that the trend is also bad in Russia: “Prices rose by as much as 30 percent for 9 out of 10 food products in September, the Russian Statistics Committee (Rosstat) has said, leaving ordinary people stressed and angered as basic products such as milk and vegetable oil are hit by rising inflation” (October 12).

“The soaring price of wheat is not an isolated phenomenon,” the Telegraph recently observed. “All around the agricultural markets prices are rising. Corn doubled last year, while the price of soybeans is more than 50 percent higher than it was 12 months ago” (September 6).

On top of all that, the dairy industry faces disaster, not only because of lost production due to adverse weather upheavals in a number of primary producing nations, but also because of prime breeding stock lost due to foot-and-mouth disease and bluetongue virus.

To add to the emerging global agricultural crisis, food aid to less-developed nations is being curtailed. It’s not only donor fatigue that is harming the world food aid effort; it’s the failure of those nations that have given the most aid in the past to maintain their usual production levels. Due to soaring food prices, the amount of food aid provided by the U.S. government, the world’s dominant donor, is at its lowest level in a decade, according to recently released data from the Department of Agriculture. The U.S. purchased less than half the amount of food this year that it did in 2000.

The Telegraph aligns with the Trumpet’s comments of 12 years ago: “If food prices are really on the move again, history suggests we should be worried” (op. cit.).

A History of Mismanagement

The problem this globe now faces is that most of its arable land is already under production, and 35 percent of that land is seriously degraded due to the intensive chemically based farming practices fashionable since World War ii. Add to this the increasing dependence of the farm sector on hybrid varieties that have no capacity to self-replenish (courtesy of the rapacious designs of such corporate entities as Monsanto Chemicals) plus the continuing escalation of energy prices, and you have a recipe for agricultural disaster.

Simply put, we are about to reap the whirlwind as a result of ignorance and greed practiced by our agriculture industries over the past 60 years.

Add to this the increasing flight from the dollar, with China potentially cashing in U.S. bonds; oil contracts, traditionally concluded in dollars, now increasingly being written in euros, rubles and yen; the U.S. subprime lending market crash—and the writing is on the wall for those with the courage to admit reality. The world’s systems of agriculture and commerce stand on the brink of disaster.

For the greater part of the 20th century, Herbert W. Armstrong warned of the very state that the world—in particular the English-speaking nations—has now entered. Fifty years ago, he declared: “I repeat—it’s later than you think!

“Yes, time is running out on us, fast, and we’re too sound asleep in deception to realize it!

“Our peoples will continue only a few more years in comparative economic prosperity. This very prosperity is our fatal curse! Because our people are setting their hearts on it, seeking ease and leisure, becoming soft and decadent and weak!

“We’re going the way of ancient Rome—to a greater fall, because we’re bigger and more prosperous, and have farther to fall!

“Then, suddenly, before we realize it, we’ll find ourselves in the throes of famine, and uncontrollable epidemics of disease. Already we’re in the beginning of a terrible famine and we don’t know it—a famine of needed minerals and vitamins in our foods. Our peoples have ignored God’s agricultural laws. Not all the land has been permitted to rest every seventh year. The land has been overworked. Today, the soil is worn out. And food factories, in the interest of larger profits, are removing much of what minerals and vitamins remain—while a new profit-making vitamin industry deludes the people into believing they can obtain these precious elements from pills and capsules purchased in drug stores and ‘health food’ stores!

“And all this state of affairs because man is in defiance of his Maker!”

The fact is, until man gets it right with his Maker, the troubling signs that we see impacting humanity more and more week by week will only accelerate into untold disaster of global proportions. The sure word of biblical prophecy guarantees that. And that word is much more sure than the word of any human “expert” or commentator on today’s scene!

If ever there was a need for you to seek and find the solution to these accelerating woes of humanity, surely it is now, before it becomes too late to do anything about it. Request your own copy, gratis, of our booklet The Wonderful World Tomorrow, and learn about the only true hope mankind has for becoming part of the solution, rather than aggravating the cause of its own increasing sufferings.