Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘grain harvests’

Where’s the Beef? – Not on the Horizon – Gold Goats ‘n Guns

Posted by M. C. on May 7, 2020

In fact, this is what I’ve been banging on about as the real problem
with our response to the financial crisis and the Coronapocalypse. Why
has the private sector been shut down, tens of millions thrown out of
work, while no one is talking about downsizing the costs of local, state
and federal government agencies?

The reports continue to come in that there’s a real problem with the U.S. food supply. From McDonald’s reviewing their supply chain for beef to the pleas of ranchers already staring at feeding issues with last year’s poor harvests the signs are there for a major supply dislocation in beef going forward.

Kroger is limiting the amount of beef and pork people can buy. My local Winn-Dixie has had limits on large cuts of pork for the past couple of weeks. Pork loins have been gone for weeks now, so no pork jerky for us, which is a tragedy.

Now Wendy’s, which doesn’t use frozen beef, is reporting more than 20% of their stores are out of beef.

Stephens analyst James Rutherford noted 18% of Wendy’s restaurants were “completely sold out of beef items as of Monday evening,” reported Bloomberg.

“By our count 1,043 Wendy’s units were selling zero beef items yesterday evening,” but within the figure, about 128 restaurants were still selling beef chili. Rutherford added that the shortage varies across the country and said some restaurants still have full menus, while states like Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, Connecticut, and New York are “fully out of fresh beef.” The note also said Wendy’s is “more exposed” to meat shortages because of its reliance on fresh beef compared with its competitors.

If you subscribe, like I do now, to the idea that this Coronapocalypse is mostly a cover story for the failures of the global financial and political system to usher in a new round of totalitarian control then destroying the most vulnerable, yet important, part of our food supply would be a key strategic goal.

My talk with Patrick Henningsen of 21st Century Wire recently covered the motive, means and opportunity for why this perspective should be our default setting.

But this beef shortage has been a year in the making. Last year because of poor grain harvests, especially corn, where millions of bushels came in at quality not even fit for silage, we were already expecting disruptions in the beef market as ranchers were thinning herds and bidding up the price of feeder calves earlier in year.

I’ve spoken with ranchers here in Florida about this. And this is an area which 1) grows a lot of cows, and 2) where meat packing plants have been mostly unaffected by COVID-19. So, it’s important when I tell you this dynamic in January and February has completely reversed itself.

Finished cattle are fetching excellent prices while feeders are down. Comex Live Cattle futures, however, have yet to get the news because the dislocation in the supply chain has farmers slaughtering animals faster than they can be processed and brought to market.

And just like in the oil industry, once you kill a heifer or cap a well it takes a long time to bring that lost supply back into the supply chain. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »