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Prepping and Government
February 19, 2023
by William P. Meyers

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Food Reserves Are Critical

The rise in global food prices in 2022 and into 2023 was attributed mainly to the Ukraine-Russian War, but that is misleading. There were several major regional crop failures in the U.S. in 2022, driving up the price of grains. That in turn drove up the price of feeding meat animals and egg-laying chicken. Even without the bird flu, egg prices would have risen, just not as much.

Every farmer in history, following a bad year, hopes for a good year. Famine has been the occasional experience of Homo sapiens since agriculture became a way of life. Agriculture allows larger, denser populations, but that is a problem when crops fail.

As I write sea ice extent in the Antarctic is at a record low, showing the global warming trend continues. Carbon dioxide output hit a record in 2022, and will almost certainly hit a record in 2023 (unless there is a serious global recession or depression). What happened to some American agricultural regions in 2022 (drought and/or heat domes destroying crops) may not happen in 2023, or could hit different regions. But as the earth gets hotter, there will be more drought and heat domes, and so food production is highly likely to decline, with some years being far worse than others.

Yet the U.S. national, state and local governments have failed to plan for this problem. There are no significant food reserves in the U.S. from one year to the next. Governments at every level should be building up reserves as best they can. True, given the gluttony that characterizes America culture, in a modest food-shortage year we could likely get by with fat people eating less. But they feel it is their right to pig out, so be prepared to fight over your pork chops. In years when we have normal crop production, the government should do a better job storing food. We also need a society-wide emphasis on not wasting food.

Prepping for famine by the government not going to happen, at least not until we are actually in a famine and some politicians see they can make a name for themselves by prepping for the next famine.

So I advise prepping for yourself or your community. Prepping is usually associated with right-wing political views, but I see no reason it should not be adopted by the left and center. Prepping currently tends to involve guns, ammunition, and underground shelters. At this point I think gradually building up a supply of food should be the priority. If things get really bad the people with guns will be shooting each other. You will be able to pick up guns and ammo off the street. But if you do not have food, do not expect the government to provide it. Especially if you work for a living. The government is set up to feed the lazy and incompetent, so what little the government has will continue to flow to them. It takes time for the government to change its course, even in an emergency.

Pay attention to the time of year. Most of America's food is harvested in the fall. After a good fall harvest you could just not worry for another year, but that is the situation where you can buy food relatively cheaply to build up a supply. When there is a truly bad fall harvest, prices will skyrocket and there may be nothing to buy at any price.

At this point I only have about a one month supply of stored food. That can help if there is just an ordinary shortage, or jump in prices. Ideally I would like a three year supply of food. If the government ever builds up a three year supply of food for each of us, I would worry less. Of course if we keep pumping carbon dioxide into the air, and the temperature keeps warming, at some point crop failures will be a given, and any food kept in storage will eventually be eaten. Looking at charts, graphs, and Department of Agriculture reports, I do not think ever saving up a 3 year supply of food for 330 million Americans will be possible unless we buy food on the international markets, starving the less prosperous natins.

In the Bible Joseph warns the Pharaoh of a coming famine, interpreting the Pharaoh's dream. That is seven years in advance, so the Egyptians save as much as they can during the seven years. Then they make it through seven years of crop failures. So even Christian fundamentalists should be able to get behind the idea of large government reserves.

What we really need to do is to close the airports, add about $5 in taxes to each gallon of gasoline, and limit families to one child. But those things won't happen, so the least we can do is store up as much food as we can before heat domes dramatically reduce production.

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