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Where Are The Grain Reserves?

Where’s The Emergency Grain?

There’s a belief among many (most?) folks in the U.S. that if “something” really bad happens, the Government will ride to the rescue. I can only shake my head. Homeland Security, FEMA and armed EPA agents may ride in, but I’m not sure about any “rescue” part.

barn and silo

Grain Reserves For Emergencies?

Don’t get me wrong. The hard-working, boots-on-the-ground men and women of these organizations do great service for their fellow citizens. But there is a distrust of a Bureaucracy’s agenda during a crisis (or even the day-to-day).

It’s why preparedness is such an important part of many people’s lives. You’ve got to be prepared to care for yourself and your family: security, shelter and food.

And that’s the point of this post. You have to stock and maintain your own food reserves because, since 2008, the U.S. government no longer possesses national grain reserves.

None. Zero.

For national security, the Chinese government maintains a vast grain reserve. So do the Russians. But not the U.S.

Preparedness Depends On You

Read the rest of the article below. It may spur you to up your preparedness game. And remind others that if the Government does ride in, there won’t be any bread in the saddlebags.

No one questions why the United States maintains a Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The very threat of bringing reserves to the market can moderate the spiking price of crude oil. But when it comes to food prices, our country cannot even threaten to bolster the national supply because the United States does not possess a national grain reserve.

The modern concept of a strategic grain reserve was first proposed in the 1930s by Wall Street legend Benjamin Graham. Graham’s idea hinged on the clever management of buffer stocks of grain to tame … boom and bust.

Following Graham’s theory, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created a grain reserve that helped rally the price of wheat and saved American farms during the Depression. In the inflationary 1970s, the USDA revamped FDR’s program into the Farmer-Owned Grain Reserve, which encouraged farmers to store grain in government facilities by offering low-cost and even no-interest loans and reimbursement to cover the storage costs.

But over the next quarter of a century the dogma of deregulated global markets came to dominate American politics, and the 1996 Freedom to Farm Act abolished our national system of holding grain in reserve.

As for all that wheat held in storage, it became part of the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust, a food bank and global charity under the authority of the secretary of Agriculture. The stores were gradually depleted until 2008, when the USDA decided to convert all of what was left into its dollar equivalent.

And so the grain that once stabilized prices for farmers, bakers and American consumers ended up as a number on a spreadsheet in the Department of Agriculture.

Now, as the United States must confront climate change, commodity markets riddled by speculation, increased import costs, hosts of regional conflicts and the return of international grain tariffs and export bans, we have put our faith entirely in transnational agribusiness and the global grain market.

In the last five years two devastating run-ups in the price of food have pushed the number of hungry people on the planet to a billion and the number of “food insecure” households in the United States to 17 million.

These recent crises, ignited by biofuel mandates and fed by speculation, have caused bread riots in 30 countries and fostered revolution and regime-change.

Source: Frederick Kaufman author of “Bet the Farm: How Food Stopped Being Food,” for the Los Angeles Times

Image: S.W.Bennett

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