U.S. ranchers are in panic mode. As drought conditions worsen, the lives of millions of cattle are hanging by a thread. That’s why thousands of ranchers from all across the country are selling off cattle in unprecedented numbers before more animals are victimized by the extreme weather conditions. Over the past few years, the cost of raising livestock in the U.S. has absolutely exploded, and many farmers are being pushed to the edge of a financial abyss due to the soaring costs of feed, fertilizers, fuel, and farming equipment at a time their herds are being slashed by a shortage of grass and water. The situation is creating serious imbalances in the U.S. food supply chain, with executives warning that meat prices are about to go through the roof given that the U.S. beef cow herd continues to shrink. This problem is rapidly reaching crisis levels, but most people don’t even know this is happening.
James Mitchell, an extension livestock economist for the Division of Agriculture, exposed that from January to June, total beef cow slaughter in the U.S. is at its highest level since 1996. “If you look at the number of head slaughtered as a percentage of the January 1 inventory, that’s 5.3 percent of available cows in the U.S. That would be confirmation that we’re seeing people sell off their herd, are culling, or are digging deeper into their herds to cull more cattle. Drought is pressing some hard decisions for people,” Mitchell said.
Farmers are also coping with expensive prices for fertilizer. Record-high natural gas prices have pushed up the cost of nitrogen-based fertilizers such as ammonia, which jumped from about $700 a tonne in August to more than $1,600 in May. The price of potash, rich in potassium, has also hit records above $1,100 a tonne as sanctions curtail supplies from Russia.
Texas farmer, Amador Guerrero, revealed that a calf normally sells for $400 to $800 at auction. But last Wednesday, he watched his calf sell for $70. With so many ranchers selling off cattle, the market is flooded and the price for cows is crashing. This situation is pushing farmers to the edge of a financial abyss. Missouri farmer, Kevin Lawson, who directs extension activities in the 25-county Ozark District, an area heavy in cattle, doesn’t mince words about what he has seen: “We’re on the edge of a disaster,” he emphasized.
The U.S. food supply chain is in a very vulnerable position. The decline in meat production is coming at a time when food prices are 12% higher than they were a year ago. In short, tighter supplies of highly demanded products such as beef are going to result in even higher prices at the stores. At this moment, grocery shortages are already becoming increasingly more extensive across the nation, and it’s safe to say that once people realizing this is going on, things are going to very chaotic very quickly. If you can, buy lots of food and store it some place safe because prices will not be lower than they are right now, and challenging times are definetely ahead. For that reason, today we compiled 30 statistics that expose the shocking selloff of millions of cattle and reveal why the coming meat shortages are going to be far worse than most Americans are anticipating. Don’t forget to share this list and share your thoughts in the comment section down below!
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