The past several years have seen the United States, as well as many regions around the world, experience a recession, depression, economic downturn, call it what you will. Various media outlets cover the world’s economic status differently.
- Glenn Beck warns his listeners and subscribers to GBTV.com to continue to prepare. In fact, a recent radio show of his featured a $50 bet with Bill O’Reilly that there will be a lot of chaos this coming summer.
- More traditional media outlets continue to preach an economic recovery that is upon us. They cite decreasing unemployment numbers and increases in the manufacturing sector as evidence that the economy is healthy and vibrant
- Pundits of the traditional media question the validity of those numbers. Some questions linger about how unemployment numbers can be accurate when the numbers do not include those people who do not have a job, but have quit looking for one.
- Greece and Europe continue to struggle, but talks are underway to bolster those countries that are at risk.
Regardless of which scenario you adhere to and which philosophy you choose, one thing is certain is that the United States economy is not as strong as it has been at points in the past.
With this as a backdrop, where will the recovery and stability come from? May I suggest that farmers and producers may hold the key to recovery, as well as preservation. Farming is one of the main things that has made the United States the great nation that we are (or have been). We are one of the leading producers of the world’s food supply.
There is also an increasing demand for food throughout the world. There have been food shortages in many countries, such as Greece. A 2008 article out of the UK suggested that Great Britian could face a food crisis due to many factors. (Global Food Supply is Growing Problem 2008 the Telegraph)
This article pointed out that food is being used in increasing amounts for alternative fuels. Perhaps the saddest part of this is that we are spending more in fossil fuels to produce a gallon of ethanol than we actually produce in ethanol. This is sad as many in our world starve due to lack of food, which often times is restricted for political reasons.
Another trend that hits the food supply hard is the urbanization of the planet. More and more people are moving to the cities and suburbs. This not only means less people to do the farming, but more houses built on what was previously farmland. This sometimes seems a “win” for the farmer who sells the land for development, but is ultimately a huge loss for the potential production of food. We can only get so efficient with what we produce per acre and the means of increasing that production can be downright scary (BST in Milk, GMO laden products, Increased fertilizers, increases in the amount of glyphosate used, hormones in animals, coccidiostats in poultry feed….the list goes on and on)
So I feel that the US is poised to remain the world’s economic and military superpower if we take heed. It will take a lot to shift the thinking to increase farm production, as a large portion of our population moves to more and more urban areas. Some creativity may be needed as well. There have been some recent strides made as far as “vertical gardening” goes. There has also been a huge increase in the amount of people raising backyard chickens for egg production. (MyPetChicken.com and Backyardchicken.com)
Why the economic Revival from Rural Areas?
Well this seems simply a game of supply and demand. The demand in the world is rapidly growing as the population grows in what seems to be an exponential fashion. In the aforementioned article, it was estimated that it would take t $30,000,000,000 (that is thirty BILLION) a year to relaunch agriculture in the developing world and avert future threats of food conflicts. That is a ton of cold, hard cash.
The United states still has a large amount of acreage in rural areas. With improving technology, we may be able to farm even more acreage than in the past. This can be attributed to larger and more specialized equipment. There are also constant developments that allow us to provide better drainage. This opens up previously wet areas to a better potential to be farmed. I am not suggesting we drain out wetlands, but rather talking about smaller areas that are simply prone to flooding.
What can you do about it?
I suggest you start by supporting local farmers. This can be done in many ways. The first of which goes to my previous post of supporting your local farmers markets. Another way is to buy meat from a farmer in your area. Many farmers are beginning to focus on selling animals more directly to consumers. In fact, many offer to ship to customers. We at Heritage Breed Farms hope to someday be able to market more directly to local consumers. We plan to focus on the quality of our products in that the animals are given no hormones and are either grassfed or free range. Keep in mind that buying from a small local farm may be a little more expensive due to the economy of scale, but you dollars not only go for more nutritional products, but also support the local economy.
I also think that gardening on whatever scale that you can is a great way to help with the global food supply. The more you grow, the less somebody else is forced to produce. This allows larger farms and companies to export more food overseas. This will help to bolster the overall economy of the US. You may be thinking: “yeah, right I grow a few green beans and help the economy?” Well think of it this way, if everybody grew enough green beans for their own use, all the other green beans that the US produces can be exported. Also, farmers may see the decreased need for green beans and plant other cash crops in their place. The result will either be lower food prices here, or greater exports abroad.
Well I think that is enough rambling for one post. Hopefully, that makes some logical sense to our readers. Hopefully you are encouraged and inspired to help in any way that you can.