Hundreds Of Millions Of Pigs Feared Dead From Swine Fever – Price Of Pork Has Risen 38 Percent In The Last 4 Weeks

A plague of epic proportions is ripping through the global pig population, and CNBC is warning that this unprecedented outbreak of African swine fever “could lead to significant shortages” of pork in the global marketplace.  As you will see below, the price of pork has already risen 38 percent over the last 4 weeks, and it appears inevitable that it will go a lot higher as this crisis continues to intensify.  When the first case of African swine fever was reported in China last August, nobody was really too concerned at the time.  But since then it has been spreading like wildfire, and the most recent estimates of the spread of the disease that we are getting from the experts are absolutely terrifying.

China consumes 49 percent of all pork produced in the world, and they slaughter approximately 700 million pigs a year.

So we are talking about the primary source of protein for the most populated country on the entire planet.

According to the Daily Mail, one major pork supplier has “suggested that 30-50% of Chinese pig farms have been affected by the outbreak”.  And apparently this is the primary reason why the price of pork has increased by 38 percent over the last month…

There was an 18% increase in the price of bacon from February to April this year, according to Bidfood, Beacon said, and the market price of pork has risen by 38% in the last four weeks.

The company also said another of its suppliers, Brakes, suggested that 30-50% of Chinese pig farms have been affected by the outbreak, which has increased pig prices around the world.

If what this pork supplier is claiming is true, then this plague is far, far worse than we had previously been told.

And commodities economist Arlan Suderman is giving us similar numbers.  He just told CNBC that hog feeding in China is down “at least 40%”, and in some areas he says that it is down “more than 50%”…

“What our people there in China find is a far different story where the disease is continuing to spread,” said Arlan Suderman, chief commodities economist with INTL FCStone in Kansas City, Mo. “China just doesn’t want the rest of the world to know what the situation is.”

The economist termed it “a very dire situation” and estimates hog feeding in China has fallen at least 40% and in some larger swine producing regions plummeted more than 50% in response to the disease. He said the decline is directly attributable to infected pigs dying and producers afraid of the disease and liquidating herds to salvage some value.

There is no cure for African swine fever, and when it hits a pig farm it spreads like wildfire.  In an effort to fight the spread of the disease, most of the time authorities slaughter any pigs that somehow survive.

So if 40 percent of China’s pig farms have already been essentially wiped out, we are talking about a blow to global pork production unlike anything we have ever seen before

“If we’re down 40%, that would mean on an annualized basis that they’ve lost more pork production capacity than what we produce in all of North and South America together on an annual basis,” said Suderman.

I hope that most of you are starting to grasp the implications of what I am sharing.

And China is not the only one grappling with this outbreak.  African swine fever is also devastating pig farms in Vietnam, Cambodia, Tibet and we just learned that an outbreak has now erupted in South Africa

South Africa has detected an outbreak of African swine fever on a farm in North West province, the Paris-based World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Wednesday, citing a report from the South African agriculture ministry.

The outbreak killed 32 out of a herd of 36 pigs on a farm in the Ditsobotla district, with the remaining animals slaughtered, the report said.

The good news is that there haven’t been any outbreaks in the U.S. yet, and the National Pork Producers Council just canceled the World Pork Expo due to fears about the disease

The National Pork Producers Council said it would be safest for the U.S. herd to cancel the World Pork Expo, which attracts about 20,000 visitors annually to the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

Visitors attend from 40 countries, including areas that have tested positive for the disease.

“Producers have been very concerned about the risk of African swine fever,” said Jen Sorenson, vice president of the council’s board.

The United States sells approximately 20 billion dollars worth of pork annually, and so there is a tremendous amount at stake.

The Department of Homeland Security is taking this threat extremely seriously, and they are going to do all they can to keep African swine fever from crossing our borders.

But even if the disease never reaches the United States, it is still going to deeply affect us.  If the numbers that I shared with you above are accurate, that means that hundreds of millions of pigs are already dead, and this plague continues to spread.

Pork prices have already shot up, but they will never be lower than they are right now.  China and other major pork consuming nations will be trying to import all of the pork that they possibly can, and that is just going to drive the price of pork through the roof.

And for those of us that don’t eat pork, we will see prices for chicken and beef also rise as pork eaters alter their buying behavior due to rising prices.  So in the end, all forms of meat are going to become significantly more expensive.

Also, let us not forget that “as many as a million calves” were lost in the state of Nebraska alone during the recent flooding in the central United States.  That is going to drive up meat prices too.

No matter how much meat is actually produced, people are still going to be just as hungry.  If you take a basic course in economics at one of our universities, you will learn that when demand stays the same and supply goes down, prices are going to rise.

Of course if African swine fever continues to spread wildly all over the globe, eventually we are going to have a much bigger problem on our hands than just rising prices.

This is a developing story, and I will do my best to keep you updated.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

46 million Americans go to food banks, and long lines for dwindling food supplies begin at 6:30 AM

Children Orphans Eating - Public DomainThose that run food banks all over America say that demand for their services just continues to explode.  It always amazes me that there are still people out there that insist that an “economic collapse” is not happening.  From their air-conditioned homes in their cushy suburban neighborhoods they mock the idea that the U.S. economy is crumbling.  But if they would just go down and visit the local food banks in their areas, they would see how much people are hurting.  According to Feeding America spokesman Ross Fraser, 46 million Americans got food from a food bank at least one time during 2014.  Because the demand has become so overwhelming, some food banks are cutting back on the number of days they operate and the amount of food that is given to each family.  As you will see below, many impoverished Americans are lining up at food banks as early as 6:30 in the morning just so that they can be sure to get something before the food runs out.  And yet there are still many people out there that have the audacity to say that everything is just fine in America.  Shame on them for ignoring the pain of millions upon millions of their fellow citizens.

Poverty in America is getting worse, not better.  And no amount of spin from Barack Obama or his apologists can change that fact.

This year, it is being projected that food banks in the United States will give away an all-time record 4 billion pounds of food.

Over the past decade, that number has more than doubled.

And that number would be even higher if food banks had more food to give away.  The demand has become so crushing that some food banks have actually reduced the amount of food each family gets

Food banks across the country are seeing a rising demand for free groceries despite the growing economy, leading some charities to reduce the amount of food they offer each family.

Those in need are starting to realize what is going on, so they are getting to the food banks earlier and earlier.  For example, one food bank in New Mexico is now getting long lines of people every single day starting at 6:30 in the morning

We get lines of people every day, starting at 6:30 in the morning,” said Sheila Moore, who oversees food distribution at The Storehouse, the largest pantry in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and one where food distribution has climbed 15 percent in the past year.

Does that sound like an “economic recovery” to you?

Just because your family doesn’t have to stand in line for food does not mean that everything is okay in America.

The same thing that is happening in New Mexico is also happening in Ohio.  Needy people are standing in line at the crack of dawn so that they can be sure to get something “before the food runs out”

Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Food Banks, who has been working in food charities since the 1980s, said that when earlier economic downturns ended, food demand declined, but not this time.

People keep coming earlier and earlier, they’re standing in line, hoping they get there before the food runs out,” Hamler-Fugitt said.

And keep in mind that we are just now entering the next global financial crisis and the next major recession.

So how bad will things be when millions more Americans lose their jobs and millions more Americans lose their homes?

Rising poverty is also reflected in the number of Americans on food stamps.  The following graph was posted by the Economic Policy Journal, and it shows how food stamp use has absolutely exploded in the five most populated states…

Food Stamp Recipients - Economic Policy Journal

I don’t see an “economic recovery” in that graph, do you?

Instead, what it shows is that the number of Americans on food stamps continued to rise for years even after the recession ended.

Sadly, things are only going to get worse from here.  Eventually, the kinds of things that we are seeing happen in places such as Venezuela will be coming here as well.  At this point, young mothers in Venezuela are sleeping outside of empty supermarkets at night in a desperate attempt to get something for their families when morning arrives

As dawn breaks over the scorching Venezuelan city of Maracaibo, smugglers, young mothers and a handful of kids stir outside a supermarket where they spent the night, hoping to be first in line for scarce rice, milk or whatever may be available.

Some of the people in line are half-asleep on flattened cardboard boxes, others are drinking coffee.

Most Americans cannot identify with this level of suffering, but it is coming to our country someday too.  Here is more from Reuters

I can’t get milk for my child. What are we going to do?” said Leida Silva, 54, breaking into tears outside the Latino supermarket in northern Maracaibo where she arrived at 3 a.m. on a recent day.

Just a couple of days ago, I wrote about how the number of Americans living in concentrated areas of high poverty has doubled since the year 2000.

In case you are wondering, that is not a sign of progress.

Just because you might live in a comfortable neighborhood that does not give you the right to look down on those that are suffering.

And when you add increasing racial tensions to the mix, it becomes easier to understand why there is so much anger and frustration in our urban areas.  According to Business Insider, the percentage of Americans that consider race relations to be in good shape in this nation has dropped precipitously…

Over the last two years there has been a 23% drop in the number of Americans who see relations between blacks and whites as “very good” or “somewhat good.”

Today, only 47% of Americans see black-white relations positively, according to a Gallup poll, the lowest it has been in the last 14 years.

The poll also showed that blacks see the relations more positively (51%) than whites (45%), but both percentages experienced sharp declines in the last two years.

All of the ingredients are there for civil unrest to erupt in cities all over the United States.

When the next major economic downturn happens, anger and frustration are going to flare to extremely dangerous levels.  At this point, it will not take much to set things off.

Desperate people do desperate things, and desperation is rising even now in this country.

So how did things get so bad?

Stupid decisions lead to stupid results, and very soon we will start to pay a very great price for decades of incredibly stupid decisions.

Doom And Gloom

Have you noticed that most Americans seem to know far more about American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, Justin Bieber and their favorite sports teams than they do about world affairs?  Most Americans cannot even find Tunisia and Algeria on a map, and if you told them that food riots are happening in those nations right now most of them would not even care anyway.  We have become a very self-centered, self-involved and self-absorbed nation.  Quite a few people have accused this column of being obsessed with “doom and gloom”, but the truth is that the world really is falling apart out there.  What are we supposed to do?  Are we all supposed to stick our heads in the sand and pretend that everything is going to be okay?  Should we all not try to warn others so that they can prepare for what is coming?  Until people understand that we are facing absolutely massive problems they are not going to be motivated to take significant action, and hopefully those of us that are proclaiming “doom and gloom” are doing a good enough job of describing what is really going on out there that some people are starting to wake up and actually make changes.

Most Americans may not care, but the food riots that are starting to erupt around the globe are actually very serious.

Do you remember what happened back in the summer of 2008?

That summer, the price of oil spiked to an all-time high of $147 a barrel and that caused a substantial increase in the price of food all over the globe.  Suddenly millions of poor people couldn’t afford to feed themselves anymore and food riots erupted all over the world.

Well, here we are in 2011 and the price of oil hasn’t even reached $100 a barrel, and yet the food riots are already beginning.

Violent food riots are being reported in Tunisia, in Algeria, in Chile and in Mozambique.

In Tunisia, the riots have been so intense that the President of Tunisia, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, has been forced to step down and flee for his life.

Yes, that is how serious things are getting already.

Unfortunately, it looks like the global food situation is only going to get even worse.

Australia is a major food producer and right now they are experiencing flooding of Biblical proportions.  In fact, it has been reported that at one point the flooding covered an area greater than France and Germany combined.

In Brazil, another major food producer, horrific flooding has killed more than 500 people so far.  This flooding is being called the “worst-ever natural disaster” in the history of Brazil.

Meanwhile, record cold temperatures and record snowfalls are playing havoc with winter crops all over the Northern Hemisphere.

But even before all of these weather disasters struck the price of food had been going up significantly.  The UN recently announced that the global price of food hit an all-time high during the month of December, and world leaders all over the globe are openly expressing concern about what 2011 is going to bring.

Sadly, the truth is that there has been a trend of rising food prices for quite some time. According to Forbes, corn is up 94% since June, soybeans are up 51% since June, and wheat is up 80% since last June.

As one of my readers recently pointed out to me, it usually takes about six months for the prices of agricultural futures to filter down into the supermarkets.  So the very high prices for agricultural commodities that we are seeing right now should really start to be felt around the globe by the middle of 2011.

In addition to everything else, reports continue to come in of thousands of birds and millions of fish suddenly dying all over the globe, and nobody seems to really know what is causing it.

Do you want some more doom and gloom?

*There are reports of “panic buying” of silver and other precious metals right now.

*Investors are bailing out of municipal bonds at an absolutely staggering rate.

*S&P and Moody’s have both warned once again that the United States is in danger of having its credit rating slashed if it does not get government debt under control.

*U.S. housing prices have now fallen further during this economic downturn than they did during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Meanwhile, America’s economic infrastructure continues to be taken apart piece by piece.

The United States is losing more jobs to China.  In fact, the United States is losing more high technology “green jobs” to China.

Evergreen Solar, a company that manufactures solar panels, is closing their factory in Devon, Massachusetts and they are moving their production facilities to China.  This is going to result in the loss of 800 good American jobs.

The following is what the company had to say in a statement about the move….

“Solar manufacturers in China have received considerable government and financial support and, together with their low manufacturing costs, have become price leaders within the industry.”

Is it any wonder that a recent survey found that 47 percent of Americans now believe that China is the world’s leading economic power while only 31 percent still believe that the United States is the world’s leading economic power?

As America continues to lose good jobs, millions of Americans find themselves simply unable to pay the bills.  In fact, at this point one out of every six Americans is now enrolled in at least one government-run anti-poverty program.

As things have fallen apart in the United States, many private citizens have tried to step forward and do what they can to help people, but now in many areas of the country the government is actually stepping in and shutting down these private avenues of assistance.

For example, in the city of Houston, Texas a couple named Bobby and Amanda Herring has been feeding homeless people for over a year.  They never left behind any trash and no trouble was ever caused.

But now the city of Houston is shutting them down.

Why?

Because they don’t have a permit.

So will they be able to get a permit?  Well, it turns out that city officials are saying that this “Feed a Friend” effort most likely will be denied one.

Apparently the city “officials” believe that the homeless “are the most vulnerable to foodborne illness” and that therefore the warm meals that the Herrings were providing for them were potentially dangerous.

Can you believe this?

This is what happens when political correctness and bureaucracy get wildly out of control.

Now it is illegal to go out and feed homeless people?

What is American turning into?

As the economy continues to fall part, the iron grip of the government is likely only going to get tighter as it desperately tries to keep order.

But do we really need to be giving tickets to 6-year-olds?

Yes, you read that correctly.

According to one recent report, police in Texas have given “1,000 tickets to elementary school children in 10 school districts” over the past six years.

For more examples of how America is turning into a police state, please see my recent article entitled “Almost Everything Is A Crime In America Now: 14 Of The Most Ridiculous Things That Americans Are Being Arrested For“.

America is rapidly becoming a very dark place.

The truth is that there is a reason why so many websites are now reporting so much “doom and gloom”.  Things really are getting bad out there.

Sadly, most Americans have only known tremendous prosperity all of their lives, so they can’t even conceive of what it would be like to go through difficult times.

Most Americans have been conditioned to believe that while we may have brief “recessions” once in a while, in the end our economy will always get better and the good times will continue to roll.

But the good news is that an increasing number of Americans are waking up and are trying to warn their family and friends about what is coming.

So do you believe that the food shortages and the food riots are going to get even worse throughout the rest of 2011?  Please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts below….

5 Dangers To Global Crops That Could Dramatically Reduce The World Food Supply

The world food situation is starting to get very, very tight.  Unprecedented heat and wildfires this summer in Russia and horrific flooding in Pakistan and China have been some of the primary reasons for the rapidly rising food prices we are now seeing around the globe.  In places such as Australia and the African nation of Guinea-Bissau, the big problem for crops has been locusts.  In a world that already does not grow enough food for everyone (thanks to the greed of the elite), any disruption in food production can cause a major, major problem.  Tonight, thousands of people around the world will starve to death.  So what happens if things get even worse?  Many agricultural scientists are now warning that global food production is facing dangers that are absolutely unprecedented.  Crop diseases such as UG99 wheat rust and the “unintended effects” of genetic modification pose challenges that previous generations simply did not have to face.  The outbreak of a real, live global famine looks increasingly possible with each passing year.  So are you and your family prepared if a global famine does strike?

Already, there are huge warning signs on the horizon.  Just check out what agricultural commodities have been doing.  They have been absolutely soaring.      

A recent article on the Forbes website noted a few of the agricultural commodities that have skyrocketed during this year….

Here’s what’s happened to some key farm commodities so far in 2010…

•Corn: Up 63%
•Wheat: Up 84%
•Soybeans: Up 24%
•Sugar: Up 55%

Are you ready to pay 84 percent more for a loaf of bread?

You better get ready – these raw material prices will filter down to U.S. consumers eventually.

So what is going to happen if the world food situation gets even tighter?

Don’t think that it can’t happen.

The following are 5 potential dangers to global crops that could dramatically reduce the world food supply…. 

UG99 Wheat Rust

UG99 is commonly known as “wheat rust” or “stem rust” because it produces reddish-brown flakes on wheat stalks.  The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico believes that approximately 19 percent of the global wheat crop is in imminent danger of being infected with UG99.

Ultimately, it is estimated that about 80 percent of the wheat on the globe is capable of catching the disease.

There is no known cure.

This current strain of wheat rust was discovered in Uganda in 1999 and has spread into areas of Kenya, Sudan, Ethiopia, Yemen and Iran.  It is feared that this crippling disease will spread even farther into south Asia, devastating the fertile growing regions of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.

If that happens, you might as well kiss world food stability goodbye.

A recent article in the Financial Times contained an absolutely stunning quote from one prominent agricultural scientist….

“You can talk about crying wolf,” says Ronnie Coffman, director of the Durable Rust Resistance in Wheat project at the University of Cornell in the US, “but it is a wolf”, he asserts, driving across the corn fields of Kansas.

Later on in the same article, Coffman warns that this disease could cause a devastating famine in which literally millions of people would die….

“It can be absolutely devastating if environmental conditions are right,“ he says. “You can count the number of people who could die from this in the millions.”

Mad Soy Disease

Mad Soy disease is spreading at an alarming rate among soy farms down in Brazil.  Previously the disease had been confined to the north part of the country, but now it has been increasingly spreading south.  This disease retards the maturation of infected plants, and it has been causing yield losses of up to 40 percent.  The USDA says that “there are no known effective treatments.”

Verticillium Wilt

Verticillium Wilt is a fungus that prevents lettuce from absorbing water, causing it to quickly grow yellow and eventually wilt.  This dangerous fungus is very hard to get rid of totally because it can stay in the soil for up to seven years.

Today, Verticillium Wilt is spreading all over Monterey County, California.  Considering the fact that Monterey County produces more than 60 percent of the lettuce in the United States, that is very bad news.

Late Blight

In 2009, a disease known as “late blight” attacked potato and tomato plants in the United States with a ferocity never seen before.  According to a press release from Cornell University, late blight had “never occurred this early and this widespread in the U.S.” when it started showing up all over the place early last year.

Late blight begins as ugly brown spots on the stems of potato and tomato plants, and as the spots increase in size, white fungal growth develops until finally a soft rot completely collapses the stem.

This was the disease that was responsible for the Irish potato famine in the 1850s.  A major new outbreak could occur without warning.

Genetic Modification

While it may or may not technically be a disease (depending on how you look at it), genetic modification is having a very serious affect on crops around the globe.

For example, about 10 years ago Chinese farmers began to widely adopt Monsanto’s genetically modified Bt cotton.  Well, researchers have found that since that time, mirid bugs that are resistant to the Bt pesticide have experienced a complete and total population boom.

Today, six provinces in Northern China are experiencing what can only be described as a “mirid bug plague”.  Mirid bugs eat more than 200 different kinds of fruit, vegetables and grains.  Chinese farmers in the region are completely frustrated.

In the United States, a different problem is developing.  The complete and total reliance of so many U.S. farmers on Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide has resulted in several varieties of glyphosate-resistant “superweeds” developing in many areas of the United States. 

The most feared of these “superweeds”, Pigweed, can grow to be seven feet tall and it can literally wreck a combine.  Pigweed has been known to produce up to 10,000 seeds at a time, it is resistant to drought, and it has very diverse genetics.

Superweeds were first spotted in Georgia in 2004, and since then they have spread to South Carolina, North Carolina, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri. 

In some areas, superweeds have become so bad that literally tens of thousands of acres of U.S. farmland have actually been abandoned.

But that is what we get for trying to “play God”.

We think that we can just do whatever we want with nature and there will not be any consequences.

One of the most frightening things about genetic modification is that it actually reduces that amount of crop diversity in the world.

For example, if nearly all farmers start using the same “brand” of genetically modified plants that are all virtually identical, it sets up a situation where crop diseases and crop failures can cascade across the planet very easily.

Genetic variety is a very desirable thing, but today our scientists are just doing pretty much whatever they want without really considering the consequences. 

It has been said many times that genetic engineering is similar to “performing heart surgery with a shovel”.

The truth is that we just do not know enough about how our ecosystems work to be messing around with them so dramatically.

Perhaps even more frightening is that once these genetically engineered monstrosities have been released into our environment, it is absolutely impossible to recall them.  They essentially become a permanent part of our ecosystem.

But can we afford to make any serious mistakes at this point?

The truth is that we already live in a world that is not able to feed itself.

Tonight, approximately 1 billion people across the globe will go to bed hungry.  Every 3.6 seconds someone in the world starves to death, and three-fourths of those who starve to death are children under the age of five.

It is currently being projected that global demand for food will more than double over the next 50 years.

So what is going to happen if we start seeing widespread crop failures in the coming years?

The global food supply is not nearly as stable as most people believe.  At some point, it is going to be tested severely.

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