Our Food – a National Security Emergency

There is a national emergency occurring. We are quickly losing our ability to produce food here in the U.S. because more and more farmers cannot make a profit from their farms, and good farmland is steadily being destroyed with housing developments. Our population is rapidly increasing and food production is rapidly decreasing. Using U.S. government population statistics, approximately 1/6th of the U.S. population in 2005 had immigrated into the U.S. in the last 15 years. (this does not include illegal immigrants.) It is a greater population increase than the baby boom years! We can have the best military, and all the fuel we need, but if we have a world war and can’t import food, we will be in trouble. In West Virginia, about half of the apple orchards have closed in recent years because of cheap imported apples. Recently Paul Harvey reported that in one peach producing state the farmers could not compete with imported peaches so the state was paying the peach orchards to cut down their trees!

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture website quoting a 2002 census of agriculture, only 10 percent of Maryland’s farm families relied on farming for 100 percent of their income. The rest had some form of off-farm income to support their household and farm.

One magazine we subscribe to, Stockman Grass Farmer, revealed how inexpensive it is to ship products around the world. They had a pallet of books printed in India. The pallet was placed in a container and put on a ship and shipped to New Orleans. It was then put on a truck and traveled 150 miles in the U.S. to their office. The cost to ship the books 150 miles in the U.S. cost 1 ½ times more than it cost to ship them from India to New Orleans! The cheap container shipping gives every farmer in the world a superior advantage to the American farmer because of their lower shipping, land, labor and living costs. It is cheaper to ship frozen beef or any other farm commodity around the world, than it is to ship it from the Midwest to the East coast in the U.S. Recently one man told me it cost them $3000 to get a tractor trailer load of organic field peas shipped to Virginia from South Dakota! We have also received several emails from China trying to sell us "certified organic" soybean meal for our chicken feed. Cheaper "organic" soybeans imported from China have been driving down U.S. organic soybean prices in the last year. You may be thinking that by buying organic products at the health food store you are getting U.S. products, but in reality an increasing amount of our "organic" food is coming from grains imported from China and other countries.

You might think that if we have a shortage of imported food, individuals can just plant gardens in their yards and make up the shortage. However, gardening and farming have a huge learning curve. A person doesn’t just put seeds in the ground and have a bumper crop. There are a lot of things that have to be learned in controlling bugs, disease, and other challenges. Being totally self sustaining food-wise is much more difficult than what you might think. Our family is an example that being totally self sustaining is difficult. We raise almost all our own milk, eggs, and meats. We also have a large garden. I was totally shocked when Cathy told me how much we spent at the grocery store in 2005! We are not even close to being self sustaining, even though we produce all that food.

Here in America, most people have lost contact with where their food really comes from and could care less about the success of U.S. farms and farmers. We have become so used to getting whatever food we want, when we want it at the grocery store, regardless of what time of year it is. There is always an endless supply of food in the grocery stores. By purchasing groceries in small quantities several times a week, most people don’t really realize how much food they are actually consuming each year.

Our national security is only as strong as our weakest link. Our domestic food supply is one link of national security that is becoming weaker with each passing year.

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