How To – Preparing For Higher Food Costs Half of U.S. in severe drought

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    Counties in Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee and Wyoming were included in Wednesday’s announcement.

    The USDA uses the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor to help decide which counties to deem disaster areas, which makes farmers and ranchers eligible for federal aid, including low-interest emergency loans. With the drought drying up feed and food crops across the country, the USDA is allowing farmers to graze their animals on 3.8 million acres of protected lands.

    Many insurance companies are also agreeing to a 30-day grace period for farmers on insurance premiums. us drought monitor aug 2 “The assistance announced today will help U.S. livestock producers dealing with climbing feed prices, critical shortages of hay and deteriorating pasturelands,”

    Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement announcing the moves. The U.S. Nature Conservancy stated that they are allowing the grazing as long as it is carried out with a minimal effect on wildlife and habitats.

    Many officials are worried about how the drought will affect corn prices in the U.S. and abroad. The USDA is raising its prediction of food price inflation, saying that prices could rise as much as 3.5 percent this year and 4 percent in 2013.

    What can we do to reduce our costs for food?

    Even if you aren’t in a designated area of drought you are likely to have seen dry weather most of the summer.  This means growing food in your own garden has been difficult and you have been watering more often then normal.

    I personally have started watering twice a day with a light watering in the morning just to keep the plants alive and then a heavier watering at sunset so hopefully enough water will not evaporate and allow the plants to get a drink before the sun comes up and starts baking them again.

    My cantaloups have been nonexistent and zucchinis and cucumbers have been 40% regular crop if that many.

    I think as home farmers we have to try to get in a winter crop of cold vegetables that can live into early fall.

    Although you may not like them all that much Collards will last even past the first frost This will give you greens that you can cook and store for winter.  They make a decent side dish and can be prepared with beans and tomato sauce or added to soups.

    Other late fall early winter vegetables include root vegetables like turnips, potatoes will last a while even beets give you some leeway.

    Normally lettuce will wilt past useability at the first frost and many other plants just do not do well when entering the cold of winter vs coming out of the cold into spring. This is not to say you can’t get a quick crop of lettuce in during September if you pick the sprouts rather then waiting for heads.

    Other then growing your own food it would probably be a good idea to buy some discount produce and can it or even just buy canned products now.

    Dried beans are great because they can last a year or more in plastic but for longer storage you need to put them in vacuum cans.

    The main thing to do now is look for deals. Don’t buy stuff just because you think prices will go up .. wait until there is a sale and put away a good amount of product for winter.

    Sealed Commercial cans can normally last over a year in your basement or pantry. Check best used by dates for any product you want to store and don’t buy dented cans if you want them to last until their use by dates.


    Final Note

    Job numbers came out today an the reported unemployment rate increased to 8.6% but the actual unemployment rate in the same report that counts all the people that can not get jobs is 15% up from 14% last month…

    These figures are staggering..

    Normal unemployment is under 6% in the United States and less during really good times. Some states actually have as low as 3% unemployment during normal times because the National Rate is offset by large rustbelt cities with a standard 15 to 25% unemployment for decades.

    This on top of an expected 7% increase in food costs due to a drought on top of any inflation we may see is going to mean we are paying much more when we just do not have the money.

    The best thing to do is to prepare just like you would for a winter storm.. do the best you can for yourself and your family.



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