Rising stakes, shrinking steaks

Business Insider says that the world has 10 weeks of wheat supply in storage, according to one expert. As shortages loom, India has became the latest country to stop exporting its wheat. Egypt, Turkey and Indonesia are the biggest importers of wheat and flour, while the US remains one of the largest exporters.

Reuters says that around 20 million tons of wheat is locked up in silos in Ukraine with Russia blockading key Black Sea ports. Russia has said it will let food shipments leave on condition that some sanctions imposed by the West are lifted.

From carbs to protein…

Bloomberg is reporting that the price of meat looks set to remain high for some time. Cattle ranchers are shrinking their herds as the cost of production becomes more costly. The article attributes the rising costs of farming to the low supplies and exorbitant prices of stock feed, as well as bad weather.

Congress is seeking to investigate potential collusion and price-fixing in the meat packing industry. Sen. Mike Rounds, (R-SD) said, “For years, the price paid to cattle producers…has not followed the price of beef at the grocery store. Meanwhile, the four largest beef packers, who control 85% of the beef processing capacity, have enjoyed record profits. This has resulted in an average of nearly 17,000 cattle ranchers going out of business each year since 1980.”

To add to farmers’ woes, a 43-car train carrying potash, a key ingredient in fertilizer, derailed in Canada, just a few days ago. With suspicion that food supply chains may be sabotaged on purpose, Twitter users pointed out that it was odd for a train to leave the tracks on such a straight, flat section. Get out the tin foil hat…

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