Monday, January 4, 2010
Grass Fed Beef - Its what's for dinner
The rate at which the corn to ethanol processing industry has scaled up is nothing short of the kind of thing the U.S. did for armaments in WWII.
(I highly recommend Michael Pollan's "Omnivore's Dilemma". It provides an excellent history and prospective on U.S. farm policy and food production.)
My best guess is that number 2 Field Corn, directly or indirectly, provides over half of the calories Americans consume. Meat, milk, and eggs are primarily corn derivatives... as is most of the caloric content of processed foods. All this talk about grass fed beef and other meats? Though a very good idea, the long and short of it is that at the pace we are going there will be no alternative.
There is a collision in here somewhere. Going from ZERO to 787,000 bpd of ethanol in less than 5 years, consuming 42.5% of the U.S. corn crop in the process, is a rather brisk rate of change - particularly when talking about a nation's food supply. Of course, the U.S. has some wiggle room as it is still an exporter of corn. But that is on an absolute basis - the issue will be the effect on price... particularly in a nation where 1 in 8 depends on food assistance from the federal government.
The USDA is NOT the U.S. Department of Energy. The USDA is charged with assuring America's food supply is secure and safe. To say that they have been derelict in their duties does not begin to describe the situation.
You see, the risk to our food supply was, is, and always shall be THE WEATHER. The USDA seems to be OK with a "Just In Time" delivery and inventory of U.S. grain crops. This is BEYOND dangerous. If the U.S. experienced a 1936 style drought and heat wave during the next growing season the consequences would be catastrophic.
The administration has its eye on the money supply rather than the food supply. They are playing with fire.
Libertariananimal (at) gmail (d0t) com
Posted by The Short Story Man at 5:07 AM