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| | |-+  What's up with the US government hoarding food?
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Author Topic: What's up with the US government hoarding food?  (Read 1750 times)
Andy R
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« on: July 25, 2008, 01:24:02 PM »

Check it out:

Think they're preparing for another Katrina, and not wanting to look so inept in an election year, or is it something more ominous?

Are feds stockpiling survival food?'These circumstances certainly raise red flags'

Posted: July 24, 200812:00 am Eastern2008 WorldNetDaily

A Wall Street Journal columnist has advised people to "start stockpiling food" and an ABC News Report says "there are worrying signs appearing in the United States where some "locals are beginning to hoard supplies." Now there's concern that the U.S. government may be competing with consumers for stocks of storable food.
"We're told that the feds bought the entire container of canned butter when it hit the California docks. (Something's up!)," said officials at Best Prices Storable Foods in an advisory to customers.
Spokesman Bruce Hopkins told WND he also has had trouble obtaining No. 10 cans of various products from one of the world's larger suppliers of food stores, Oregon Freeze Dry.
He said a company official told him on the telephone when he discussed the status of his order that it was because the government had purchased massive quantities of products, leaving none for other customers.
That, however, was denied by Oregon Freeze Dry. In a website statement, the company confirmed it cannot assure supplying some items to customers.
"We regret to inform you Oregon Freeze Dry cannot satisfy all Mountain House #10 can orders and we have removed #10 cans from our website temporarily," the company tells frustrated customers. "The reason for this is sales of #10 cans have continued to increase. OFD is allocating as much production capacity as possible to this market segment, but we must maintain capacity for our other market segments as well."
The company statement continues, "We want to clarify inaccurate information we've seen on the Internet. This situation is not due to sales to the government domestically or in Iraq. We do sell products to this market, but we also sell other market segments. The reason for this decision is solely due to an unprecedented sales spike in #10 cans sales.
"We expect this situation to be necessary for several months although this isn’t a guarantee. We will update this information as soon as we know more. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your patience. We sincerely hope you will continue to be Mountain House customers in the future," the company statement said.
But Hopkins wasn't backing away from his concerns.
"The government just came in and said they're buying it. They did pay for it," he told WND about the summertime shipment of long-term storage butter. "They took it and no one else could have it.
"We don't know why. The feds then went to freeze dried companies, and bought most of their canned stock," he said.
A spokeswoman for Oregon Freeze Dry, sales manager Melanie Cornutt, told WND that the increasing demand for food that can be stored has been on the rise since Hurricane Katrina devastated large sections of the Gulf Coast, cutting off ordinary supply routes.
"We are currently out of stock on our cans. We are not selling any of our cans," she confirmed.
She then raised the issue of government purchases herself.
"We do sell to the government [but] it is not the reason [for company sales limits]," she said.
Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency told WND whatever government agency is buying in a surge it isn't them. They reported a stockpile of about six million meals which has not changed significantly in an extended period.
But Hopkins said it was his opinion the government is purchasing huge quantities of food for stockpiles, and Americans will have to surmise why.
"We don't have shelters that [are being] stocked with food. We're not doing this for the public. My only conclusion is that they're stocking up for themselves," he said of government officials.
Blogger Holly Deyo issued an alert this week announcing, "Unprecedented demand cleans out major storable food supplier through 2009."
"It came to our attention today, that the world's largest producer of storable foods, Mountain House, is currently out of stock of ALL #10 cans of freeze dried foods, not just the Turkey Tetrazzini. They will NOT have product now through 2009," she said.
"This information was learned by a Mountain House dealer who shared it with me this morning. In personally talking with the company immediately after, Mountain House verified the information is true. Customer service stated, 'I'm surprised they don't have this posted on the website yet.' She said they have such a backlog of orders, Mountain House will not be taking any #10 can food requests through the remainder of this year and all of the next.
"Mountain House claims this situation is due to a backlog of orders, which may very well be true, but who is purchasing all of their food? This is a massive global corporation.
"One idea: the military. Tensions are ramping up with Iran and news segments debate whether or not we will implement a preemptive strike in conjunction with Israel," she wrote.
Hopkins raised some of the same concerns, suggesting a military conflict could cause oil supplies to plummet, triggering a huge increase in the cost of food – when it would be available – because of the transportation issues.
The ABC report from just a few weeks ago quoted Jim Rawles, a former U.S. intelligence officer who runs a survival blog, saying food shortages soon could become a matter of survival in the U.S.
"I think that families should be prepared for times of crisis, whether it's a man-made disaster or a natural disaster, and I think it's wise and prudent to stock up on food," he told ABC.
"If you get into a situation where fuel supplies are disrupted or even if the power grid were to go down for short periods of time, people can work around that," he said. "But you can't work around a lack of food – people starve, people panic and you end up with chaos in the streets."
At his California ranch, the location of which is kept secret, he said, "We have more than a three-year supply of food here."
In the Wall Street Journal, columnist Brett Arends warned, "Maybe it's time for Americans to start stockpiling food.
"No, this is not a drill," he wrote.
His concern was about various food shortages around the globe, and the fact that in a global market, prices in the U.S. reflect difficulties in other parts of the world quickly.
Professor Lawrence F. Roberge, a biologist who has worked with a number of universities and has taught online courses, told WND he's been following the growing concern over food supplies.
He also confirmed to WND reports of the government purchasing vast quantities of long-term storable foods.
He said that naturally would be kept secret to avoid panicking the public, such as when word leaks out to customers that a bank may be insolvent, and depositors frantically try to retrieve their cash.
"[These] circumstances certainly raise red flags," he said

“The majestic equality of the law forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”
Anatole France
lame wolf
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2008, 01:58:16 PM »

  Re stocking the bunkers ?
  after puting misiles on NATO'S eastern border and Russian newspapers talking about  basing long range bombers in Cuba and Venesuala , and as i read some neo cons believe it's time for armagedon and intend to give God a hand in getting it started .........
Innocent Byproduct
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« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2008, 03:16:03 PM »

Here's something from the Minneapolis Star Tribune. These four executives of these four companies all have their pulse right on the American food market. Theya re NOT spekaing in alarmist langauge. They are being very conservative in how they are wording things. But one quote in particular sticks out to me as a red light. Mr. Johnson from Cenex Harvest made mention of "fundamental shifts" in food and in oil. Anytime a captain of industry talks about a "fundamental shift" it should be paid attention to. Captains of industry do not like it when steady-as-she-goes becomes a thing of the past --the lack of steady-as-she-goes just totally wrecks up their quarterly projections. And Mr. Johnson is here admitting to certain market stabilities and certain industry givens now being gone forever. He also makes keen and insightful reference to the economic philosophy that energy is the foundation of and main driver for all of modern commerce--not food, but energy. He said the following (emphasis mine):

"This whole phenomenon around food values -- you've got to talk about energy. It starts with energy. Someone asked if we're on a permanent change. I don't think we're going to continue to race these values like we have for the last year or two but I personally feel we have fundamentally shifted. If you look at crude oil ... we ain't going back to no $50 a barrel anymore. The same thing with grain. I think we have fundamentally shifted the values of grain. I don't think necessarily we are going to race these things up, but I don't think we're going back to $2 corn again."

And here's a choice piece of the news article.


Fear of a food shortage

By MATT McKINNEY, Star Tribune

July 20, 2008

This newspaper published its first issue in 1867, a year in which a potato bug ate its way across the state, decimating a staple food crop. Supplies dropped. Prices rose. A front-page story warned: "The all absorbing question will soon be, have we a potato among us?"

Fears of a food shortage never have left us. It was front-page news then; it's front-page news now, with stories spilling out of some of the poorest corners of the world of riots sparked by the rising price of food.

And though we don't face a shortage in the United States, the rising prices of milk, eggs, bread and vegetable oil have been hard to miss and have some people cutting back on what they eat and when. Economists project food inflation will run at 5 percent this year, with no immediate end in sight.

There's no one single thing to blame for the crisis, with biofuels, drought, surging global demand for food, the rising price of oil and climate change each chipping away at food security.

The Star Tribune asked CEOs of four of the state's largest food companies to help sort it out. Greg Page, chairman and chief executive officer of Cargill, the agribusiness giant with units that stretch across the food chain; John Johnson, president and chief executive officer of CHS, an energy and agriculture cooperative formerly known as Cenex Harvest States; Ken Powell, chairman and CEO of General Mills, the international food company behind Cheerios, Betty Crocker and Yoplait, and Russell (Tres) Lund III, chairman and CEO of Lund Food Holdings Inc., the high-end grocer in the Twin Cities, sat down with the newspaper this month for an open discussion about whether the era of cheap food is over.

Q When did you first notice food prices rising?

Lund: It's going to go back beyond last year. As oil started ticking up, one of the first elements that we started to see were packaging supplies: Any plastic, resin-based product starts to go up as oil goes up. ... I'm going to guess that we all started becoming concerned a year ago about inflationary pressures, being aware of corn as a feed for beef cattle and aware that there are pressures on that for biofuels.

Powell: We began to see inflation [of] input costs really at the beginning of this decade. If you go back to the middle '80s and through the '90s, all of our input costs were relatively stable. There was some inflation, but it was moderate inflation and we were able to absorb most of that through productivity. As we moved into this new decade, you go back three or four years ago, at General Mills we had seen several years of inflation of 4 percent. One year it was corn, one year it was oil, one year it was packaging, but it was the trend. ... We concluded basically three years ago that that trend of a higher level of inflation and input costs was likely to continue. We see the fundamental cause as growth in global demand for all commodities, really -- food grains, energy, metals, you name it.

Q Are we entering an era of permanently increasing food prices -- in other words, the end of cheap food?

Powell: I don't think so. For instance, three years ago, our input cost inflation was 5 percent, which is significant, especially when you look back at the '90s when we had inflation around 2 percent. So I think we're in a period now where it's 7. This year it might be 8. I think it will moderate. I'm not going to predict when, but we think it will moderate and we'll be able to cover it with productivity.

Q The past few years have been a period of phenomenal growth for Cargill.

Page: That's true. We try to think about it in two contexts because fertilizer has become such an outsized part of the company. Historically, the fertilizer business represented probably 10 to 13 percent of Cargill's investment and 10 to 13 percent of our earnings, and now that has ceased to be the case with the explosion in fertilizer prices.

I think the thing that's sometimes not well carried in the media is that in the last two years it's taken about $17 billion more in the balance sheet to run the company. If you own a country elevator and you previously filled it up with $3 corn and $4 wheat and now you're filling it up with $10 wheat and $7 corn, a single elevator can cost $10 million or $12 million more capital just to fill. So while your earnings go up, our cash flows have gone down dramatically. We have hundreds of elevators and if it costs $10 million more to fill up every one of those, you can quickly do the math and see that the strain on the lending system to agriculture has been enormous, because all of these crops are harvested in a very short period and consumption takes place over 365 days and somebody has to finance all of that.

Q Is any of the liquidity crisis affecting other businesses seeping into yours?

Page: It has filtered in, but it was far more pronounced in the early winter than it is at this exact moment.

Q John, you're in food and oil, because CHS has oil refineries. You're seeing a lot of these pressures as well.

Johnson: This whole phenomenon around food values -- you've got to talk about energy. It starts with energy. Someone asked if we're on a permanent change. I don't think we're going to continue to race these values like we have for the last year or two but I personally feel we have fundamentally shifted. If you look at crude oil ... we ain't going back to no $50 a barrel anymore. The same thing with grain. I think we have fundamentally shifted the values of grain. I don't think necessarily we are going to race these things up, but I don't think we're going back to $2 corn again.

« Last Edit: July 25, 2008, 03:20:10 PM by Innocent Byproduct » Logged

"This is an emergency far worse than World War I and World War II put together." --Sir Richard Branson

"The airlines in this sector are really the canaries in the coal mine." --J Kunstler

"This is the first scenario I've seen where I question the survivability of mankind." --R Rainwater
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