HomeBudget & Tax NewsU.S. Food Price Hikes, Shortages Expand, Economists Expect Problems to Worsen

U.S. Food Price Hikes, Shortages Expand, Economists Expect Problems to Worsen

In addition to the inflation Americans have been experiencing since President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats began implementing their preferred policies on the economy, economists are predicting food shortages and further rapid increases in food prices.

Many economists say they believe the sparsely stocked shelves at grocery stores are just the beginning of what may be a global food shortage that will seriously affect the United States.

Overall food prices in the United States are expected to rise by 4.5 to 5.5 percent for the year, the highest inflation rate since 2008 for that sector, The Epoch Times reports.

Led by higher food and energy costs, the consumer price index (CPI) climbed by 7.9 percent from February 2021 to February 2022, a 40-year high, the Daily Wire reports.

The producer price index, the measure of wholesale inflation, rose even more rapidly than prices to consumers in that month, a 10 percent year-over-year increase. The producer price index is a strong predictor of forthcoming consumer price increases.

To increase the food supply and avert or at least lessen the food crisis, the federal government can and should quickly free up land it is paying farmers to withhold from cultivation, says H. Sterling Burnett, director of environment and climate studies for The Heartland Institute.

“My suggestion is to provide an emergency exemption to Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land production restraints, to allow land fallowed under CRP to be put into production until global stocks increase,” said Burnett. “This should be a part of the law allowing the CRP and written into the government’s contracts with landowners.”

The food shortages and inflation started with supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, and pandemic-related shutdowns. Policy changes and operational solutions such as CRP reform could alleviate the problem, writes “Anony Mee” for American Thinker.

“Opportunities currently exist for farmland to be put into paid conservation easements or fallowed into carbon credits,” Mee writes. “These require no inputs other than an occasional mowing but produce a guaranteed payment. Some farmers have taken advantage of these already.”

Unless Congress and the president act soon, U.S. consumers can expect increasingly severe shortages of foods such as meat, fruits, dairy products, breakfast cereal, pasta, and bakery items, The Epoch Times reports.

In addition, the availability and cost of chicken may become a further problem because of an outbreak of bird flu.

“Poultry prices are now predicted to increase between 6 and 7 percent in 2022, while egg prices are predicted to increase between 2.5 and 3.5 percent,” The Epoch Times reports.

With Ukraine being a major producer of wheat and Russia a major producer of fertilizer, the invasion of Ukraine will cause major supply disruptions for any country importing these items. The pressure on fertilizer supplies is already being felt worldwide, The New York Post reports.

American farmers rely on fertilizer to increase yields. Corn and wheat production is projected to decline by more than 40 percent without the needed amount of fertilizer, the Post reports.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) claims the price increases are a result of the invasion of Ukraine and the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike plan.

Official government data contradict that narrative. Rising prices and shortages began long before the war and recent very small interest rate hike. Food prices were steadily increasing in the United States as inflation reached a 40-year high before the invasion. The rapid rise in overall consumer prices began one month after President Joe Biden took office in late January 2021 and began to implement his economic policies of much-higher government spending and economic regulation.

Mee recommends U.S. consumers begin stocking up on staples and other products that will become difficult to find. Food is already being rationed in some places in Europe. Americans should prepare now, before the situation gets out of hand, says Mee.

“So, we must take care of ourselves as best we can,” Mee writes. “Most of us can’t grow sufficient grain or press enough oil to meet our needs, so we need to set aside what we can for future use. We should begin to produce as much of our own food as possible though. It’s time to Make Americans Gardeners Again.”

Preparation and planning are key for households to avoid the worst of the global crisis. Although America should be at the forefront of proactive policy change, the performance of the current administration indicates that is unlikely to happen, says Mee.

“We can rest assured that, when the government wakes up to this problem, it will be too late,” Mee writes.

Although the crisis will be felt in the United States, it may make the difference between life and death in developing countries.

“In the West this will mean discomfort. Elsewhere it will mean starvation,” writes Glenn Reynolds for The New York Post.

Unfortunately, elite policymakers are far removed from the consequences of their actions and hence tend to fail to see the urgency before the situation is out of hand, says Reynolds.

“Regardless, the world’s policymakers need to take a less casual approach to the well-being of the world’s population,” Reynolds writes. “That very much includes those in the Biden administration. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s response to concerns about fertilizer and food shortages: ‘Maybe sacrifices are necessary.’ You can rest assured Vilsack won’t be the one making them.”

Eileen Griffin
Eileen Griffin
Eileen Griffin writes from Richland, Washington.

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