The Organic Prepper: Americans Aren’t Experiencing REAL Shortages Yet. We’re Just Living with Limited Options

The Organic Prepper talks about supply chain issues in Americans Aren’t Experiencing REAL Shortages Yet. We’re Just Living with Limited Options.

Imagine going to the store to pick up some everyday item – say, body wash for the shower – and not being able to find your usual brand. In fact, you can’t find any brand. The store is completely out so you have to go with bar soap.

In the grand scheme of life, this isn’t a big deal. Soap is soap is soap, right?  But in the United States, we have become spoiled with choices. In even a small-town store, there are dozens of options for body wash, lotion, toothpaste, and all the other things we consider necessary to live a civilized life. Don’t like the fragrance? Just go with a different brand. That laundry soap works better on your delicates and this one works better on work clothes.

Options.

Options.

Options.

This is NOT how it is in other countries. In fact, you regularly have to substitute something else entirely for the item you went to the store to purchase.

I would imagine that is also similar to how it may look in the US as the supply chain continues to crumble and personal finances keep plummeting. After all, in places like Venezuela and Greece, we watched on the news as people stood in long lines hoping to find basics like soap, diapers, rice, and cash from the ATM.

In the spirit of adaptability and resilience, let’s talk about life with limited options.

Some Americans are already accustomed to life with limited options.

Some folks are in positions in which you eat what you’re served, you use the products that are supplied, and you drink the coffee that is available. Your options are to take it or to leave it. People deployed overseas to dangerous places have a few choices on the base instead of the dozens of choices they’d have in the US. This has prepared them for the retail austerity that we’re just lately beginning to see in the United States.

Folks who have lived in poverty for a long period of time tend to be accustomed to a lack of choices because their decision-making is largely driven by price. You don’t see a lot of people who are truly struggling using salon-quality shampoo – they pick up a bottle of Suave or the store brand.

Also, folks in remote areas have fewer choices due to limited transportation. They have a couple of different stores to go to, and the stores must stock the products that most people want, not a broad assortment of specialty items. The advent of Amazon and other internet merchants has helped those in isolated areas have a broader selection, but if the item is needed right away, the choices are fewer.

But the culture of abundance in the US is changing.

We’ve published quite a number of articles on this website about the fragility of our supply chain. Not only are grocery stores showing the strain, but so are clothing stores, hardware stores, appliance stores, and places like Walmart and Target.

All you have to do is walk into any department store. Where do you see the bare spots? That’s where the products we used to get from China used to be. It should be a vast shock and an awakening that so much of our manufacturing has gone to China to give us our quick fix of shoddy yet shiny merchandise at low prices. Nearly all the things that are now limited are because either the product itself or a vital component of it is made in China. Months ago, I warned that we’d soon be seeing supply chain issues of these essentials that formerly landed on a regular basis from China.

And this is just the beginning.

The difference between a lack of options and shortages

The word “shortage” is being thrown around a lot and it’s being misused. The Cambridge Dictionary defines the word shortage as “a situation in which there is not enough of something; a lack of something that is needed.” We had a shortage in toilet paper and cleaning supplies last year, but if we’re being pedantic, we are not currently suffering from “shortages” in food or consumer goods.

What we’re experiencing right now is a limit of options. No longer can you walk into the store and have 17 shades of beige from which to select your bathroom towels. When bopping around internet forums and chat groups, I’ve seen people complaining about this type of thing. We’ve lived for so long with such an abundance of variety that to many folks, it seems positively unthinkable to no longer be able to spend a half-hour waffling between cerulean, navy, and indigo for your placemats.

But it’s important to be clear that at this point, we may not have huge numbers of options, but we can still eat food from every food group, clean our homes, buy socks and underwear, and get dish soap. Real shortages are when there’s simply nothing to buy.

I’ve lived outside the US for most of the past two and a half years, in southern Europe and Mexico, and the type of choices we have in American stores is absolutely unheard of elsewhere. I wrote about the grocery stores:

Let’s take meat, for example. Here in the United States, our stores have a lengthy expanse with hundreds of packages of meat down one aisle of the store. Outside the United States (at least where I spent most of my time) you had a little corner with a couple of chilled cases of meat. In those cases you could find chicken in perhaps three forms – whole, cut up with bone-in, and chicken breasts. For beef, you might find a roast and ground meat. With pork, you might be able to get a tenderloin, a larger bone-in roast, and some pork chops.

Moving along to other sections of the store, produce is not a vast corner with 25% of the contents of the store. It was a small section and the options were fairly basic. You didn’t have 17 brands or types of potatoes from which to choose. You just had potatoes in general in a large bin where you reached in and bagged your own.

There was food, and plenty of it. It was just that you didn’t have 29 different brands of salad dressing. You didn’t have as much processed food. You had access to basics. (source)

So while right now it feels like we have shortages, there are really only a few things that are actually in short supply. Currently, in comparison with many other parts of the world, we still live in the land of plenty. The sooner you adapt to limitations, the better off you will be when true shortages occur.

Living with limited options

The key to not feeling deprived is learning to live within our current limitations. Whether that is a lack of food options, undesirable homekeeping items, or a lack of money, we need to learn to manage this. Here are a few tips to help adapt.

Try to think in terms of “different” instead of “worse.” The most important thing of all is to adjust your mindset away from one of deprivation. Where I live currently is beautiful with a year round growing season. Glorious, farm fresh produce is everywhere. But you can’t find the same kinds of processed foods that are readily available in the United States. At least in the part of Mexico where I live, you can’t pop into the grocery store and buy a frozen dinner or a frozen pizza or the same brands and flavors of potato chips they have in the US. I’ve heard ex-pats complaining about the “lack” of food when it’s literally growing all around us. But it’s different and some people are creatures of habit. Different is difficult for them.

I choose to look at the local food options and see them as a culinary adventure. I ask the local vendors how to cook things like jicama and plantain and they’re nearly always happy to make suggestions. (Although sometimes our conversations take place via a translate app on our phones.)

Your favorite brand of detergent isn’t there? Well, there are two kinds to choose from and the ingredients to make your own. Therefore, laundry soap is available.

Learn to cook with different cuts of meat and in-season produce. Maybe you wanted to make beef stew but there’s no stew meat available. Grab an inexpensive cut of roast beef and either ask the butcher counter to cut it up for you or cut it up into stew meat yourself once you get home. Learn to debone a chicken (here’s a quick video) and be sure to put those bones in the freezer to make some stock later on.

Start shopping for seasonal fruits and vegetables. You’ll save money, eat better, and you’ll be looking for what’s available as opposed to blueberries in December.

Buy locally. I can’t say this enough – you need to shorten your supply chain. By limiting the distance your products must travel to get to you, you will naturally have a more abundant selection. If I were to buy household goods here in Mexico, I could easily find pottery and copper, but stainless steel is an item that comes from much further away, and therefore, my selection is very limited.

This is true of household goods, manufactured goods, and food. Focusing on a local diet is essential for self-reliance.

Produce what you can. Are you producing or simply consuming? Surviving the current economy requires that you be a producer instead of a consumer. It’s not enough just to buy locally. You need to also be producing some goods. Building, sewing, needlecrafts, gardening, foraging, hunting, and animal husbandry skills will be more and more important.

Make sure to stock up on heirloom seeds while you can, as well as supplies and tools for the other items you produce. As well, learn multiple ways to preserve your extra food so that you have plenty to eat when harvest time has passed.

Make things last. Learning to mend, repair, maintain, and alter the goods you already have means you don’t need to replace them as often. Most folks really don’t think about how quickly things wear out when you use the same items all the time. My wardrobe is small since I’m mobile, so I’ve been wearing things out a lot more over the past two years. I hadn’t considered how often I replaced socks or how quickly I’d wear through shoes if I only have a couple of pairs for every day use.  I’ve never darned socks so much in my entire life.

Being able to alter clothing for growing children and for hand-me-downs can help reduce your wardrobe budget as well. Maintaining your essential tools means they will be in good shape when you need them most urgently. Instead of replacing, start repairing. A lot of small components are becoming more difficult to find, so get your spare parts now. Keep a few handy items on hand for quick fixes.

Use creative problem-solving skills. Finally, the most important thing is to learn to solve your problems creatively. Whether you call it workarounds or MacGuyvering, figuring out ways to fix things or make them using limited supplies is one of a preppers most vital skills.

When you have a repair done in Mexico, sometimes the handyman will ask you if you want it done the American way or the Mexican way. The American way will be prettier and the “proper” way to fix it while the Mexican way will be a little more labor intensive, require easy-to-obtain parts, and will be a whole lot cheaper. That’s why the USB port in my Jeep was repaired instead of replaced and why my bathtub gets filled using a garden hose that hooks up under the bathroom sink.

You may look at these kinds of alternatives right now with disdain, but I assure you that the ability to create a “redneck repair” will serve you well in the future.

This doesn’t mean there are no shortages.

There certainly are shortages of things like deep freezers, canning jars, certain automotive components, and specific foods. But we’re still at a point where we can work around this and keep living a lifestyle that is fairly normal.

However, it may not always be that way. As our economy continues to crumble we’ll see fewer imports and less manufacturing. After all, how are people without money going to buy consumer items? We could reach a point at which even if you have money, the items you want to buy are unavailable.

Start living more simply and going by the Great Depression credo: use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.

Organic Prepper: The Global Supply Collapse Continues to Get Worse

Robert Wheeler at The Organic Prepper tells us that The Global Supply Collapse Continues to Get WORSE: Shortages of Clothing, Appliances, Food, and Other Essentials.

The United States and the world have been suffering under a slow-burning economic depression for three decades now. Although the US began inching slowly out of the clutches of depression under the Trump administration’s quasi-Americanist tariff policies, COVID mandates, and the government’s war on independent businesses, personal finances, and the economy thrust both the United States and the rest of the world straight back into a financial and economic hole.

This time, however, that hole is much deeper than even the most negative predictions could have foreseen.

While PPE loans, stimulus checks, extended unemployment benefits, and a terrified shut-in population, as well as a mainstream media that peddles nothing but 24/7 propaganda, are hiding the real effects of what has taken place, there will soon be no way to cover up the economic fallout from the Great Reset.

The global supply chain is overwhelmed.

For one example of what is lurking under the surface, an article published in the Washington Post entitled, “Pandemic Aftershocks Overwhelm Global Supply Lines,” details the fast arriving price increases, inflation, and scarcity. The article states,

One year after the coronavirus pandemic first disrupted global supply chains by closing Chinese factories, fresh shipping headaches are delaying U.S. farm exports, crimping domestic manufacturing and threatening higher prices for American consumers.

The cost of shipping a container of goods has risen by 80 percent since early November and has nearly tripled over the past year, according to the Freightos Baltic Index. The increase reflects dramatic shifts in consumption during the pandemic, as consumers redirect money they once spent at restaurants or movie theaters to the purchase of record amounts of imported clothing, computers, furniture and other goods.

That abrupt and unprecedented spending shift has upended long-standing trade patterns, causing bottlenecks from the gates of Chinese factories to the doorsteps of U.S. homes.

In other words, money that was once spent on luxuries such as eating out or going to the movies, entertainment, etc. is now being spent on necessities.

The price of everything will continue to rise.

This is, of course, due to the fact that many good jobs were sent overseas already before the COVID mandates took hold but also because the lockdowns and fearmongering of media outlets have now driven many of the businesses that were left into extinction.

Unemployed people and business owners who no longer own their businesses are faced with rising costs for the items they need and have no money left over for the items they want, something that has driven many more people to steal food and other necessities in an alarming trend.

The article continues,

Glimmers of sticker shock are starting to vex corporate planners. The cost of imported industrial supplies jumped 4.2 percent in December and is up 27 percent since April’s pandemic low, with manufacturers complaining of shortages of materials such as steel.

Shipping issues are affecting familiar brand names such as the Gap, where an executive recently told investors that “port issues” were hamstringing operations. At WD-40, higher freight and warehousing costs dented profit margins last quarter, Jay Rembolt, the chief financial officer, told investors this month. Bang & Olufsen, a maker of music systems and televisions, said it had resorted to more expensive airfreight to compensate for a lack of seaborne options.

“These challenges have put inflationary cost pressures on our and many businesses and, as the market is anticipating, will put further inflationary pressure on transportation rates in 2021,” said Shelley Simpson, chief commercial officer for J.B. Hunt Transport Services, on a recent earnings call.

Shortages will continue to emerge.

Just in case you were somehow unaware of the crisis, you might notice that there have been shortages of household appliances as well as clothing in recent months with many of those items costing more than they did pre-panic. In fact, many of those imported goods have risen by 0.9 percent since August. So much for those cheaper goods that you were promised for sending your high wage jobs to China.

In fact, we’re seeing shortages and higher prices of many essential products that come from China, as well as Chinese-made parts to maintain our own goods.

And it’s not just shipping costs. Higher oil prices, inflation from “stimulus” checks, and other factors are all combining. In fact, the Washington Post article surprisingly addresses this by writing,

By themselves, shipping cost spikes are likely to have only a modest effect on inflation, according to Neil Shearing, chief economist for Capital Economics in London. But they will reinforce the effects of other factors, such as oil prices and ample fiscal and monetary stimulus, that are expected to drive the current 1.4 percent inflation rate higher, at least for a while.

“All of these temporary factors come together at the same time the market narrative is primed for a post-covid inflation surge,” Shearing said.

This new spiral is not just a temporary hiccup.

If you read closely you will find that it is not merely a question of the market catching up with demand or resetting itself. Chinese goods are flooding the US market with Chinese companies fighting one another over cargo shipping space while American imports have taken a nosedive.

Essentially, what is happening is that a totaled American manufacturing sector is now being flooded with foreign goods while exports are stuck at the docks. Things are about to get very bumpy in this country and if you haven’t started preparing, now would be the time to do so in earnest.

To assess your preparedness level for this type of event, go here to get a copy of The Prepper’s Workbook absolutely free. Also check out this article for advice on how to perform an objective self-assessment.

Preparing isn’t as easy as it once was due to shortages of both goods and money, but that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. Here are some tips for getting prepared now that things have changed dramatically. Pay attention to the items that are currently in shortage and stock up if you can. Items like clothing, footwear, appliances, electronics, computers, and food are all likely to continue to be affected. (While computers wouldn’t have necessarily be seen as an essential before, an ever-growing number of Americans are working from home as their children are “distance learning.)

This crisis has been apparent since day one to anyone who understands the basics of economics and anyone who is capable of reading the writing on the wall…

WSJ: Grocers Stockpile, Build ‘Pandemic Pallets’ Ahead of Winter

In this article from the Wall Street Journal, some grocery stores are reported to be returning, at least temporarily, to an inventory system more similar to the old warehousing method, rather than the newer just-in-time delivery system, in order to avoid shortages of important items this winter. Grocers Stockpile, Build ‘Pandemic Pallets’ Ahead of Winter

Grocery stores and food companies are preparing for a possible surge in sales amid a new rise in Covid-19 cases and the impending holiday rush.

Supermarkets are stockpiling groceries and storing them early to prepare for the fall and winter months, when some health experts warn the country could see another widespread outbreak of virus cases and new restrictions. Food companies are accelerating production of their most popular items, and leaders across the industry are saying they won’t be caught unprepared in the face of another pandemic surge.

Southeastern Grocers LLC secured holiday turkeys and hams over the summer, months before it normally starts inventory planning, said Chief Executive Anthony Hucker. And grocery wholesaler United Natural Foods Inc. has loaded up on extra inventory of cranberry sauce, herbal tea and cold remedies, said President Chris Testa.

“We started talking about Thanksgiving in June. That’s earlier than we ever have,” he said.

Associated Food Stores recently started building “pandemic pallets” of cleaning and sanitizing products so it always has some inventory in warehouses, said Darin Peirce, vice president of retail operations for the cooperative of more than 400 stores. The company is establishing protocols so it can better manage scenarios of high demand.

“We will never again operate our business as unprepared for something like this,” he said.

These changes, a reaction to the sudden and massive shortages grocers experienced in the spring, amount to a shift from the just-in-time inventory management practices that have guided the fast-moving retail business for decades.

Now, food sellers are stockpiling months, rather than weeks, worth of staples such as pasta sauce and paper products to better prepare for this winter, when people are expected to hunker down at home. Ahold Delhaize USA, SpartanNash Co. SPTN -0.31% and others say they are buying more food as soon as they can, stocking warehouses with wellness and holiday items. Many retailers are expanding distribution capacity, augmenting warehouse space and modifying shifts.

They say they want to be ready for a potential Covid-19 surge that experts are warning could hit as soon as this fall, as daily reported cases are increasing again in many states after falling in the summer. More than 200,000 people have died from the coronavirus in the U.S.

A fresh increase in demand in the event that officials reinstate restrictions on restaurants or workplaces would also run up against the normal holiday boom in grocery sales, further elevating demand for items like baking products, pasta, meat and paper towels.

Back in March, “we didn’t know what we didn’t know,” said Chris Lewis, executive vice president of supply chain at Ahold Delhaize’s Retail Business Services.

Ahold Delhaize, owner of the Giant and Food Lion chains, already has its holiday inventory in its warehouses. The grocer is also storing 10% to 15% more inventory than it did before the pandemic to ensure it won’t run out of fast-selling items.

Industry executives say they don’t think a potential wintertime burst in grocery demand will be as extreme as it was in March, when people panic-shopped, fearing grocery-store closures or food shortages. Consumers are better prepared this time around, said Sean Connolly, chief executive of Conagra Brands Inc. CAG +0.48%

Some retailers are also betting that recent investments in warehouses and e-commerce will help them meet demand for home deliveries in the coming months.

Still, some products such as cleaning wipes and canned vegetables remain hard for stores to obtain, partly because of continued high demand and because manufacturers are still trying to keep up. Some manufacturers are worried they will lose production capacity if infections break out among their workers or if other issues, such as lack of child care, prevent people from working… (continues)

Organic Prepper: Supply Chain Is Broken and Food Shortages Are HERE

Robert Wheeler at The Organic Prepper writes The Supply Chain Is Broken and Food Shortages Are HERE.

If you are a reader of this site, you might be more interested in the food supply chain than most, at least when things are good. So, if you have been paying attention recently, you might find that there have been some severe disturbances in that supply chain.

Several months ago, the immediate disruptions began at the beginning of the COVID-19 hysteria, when factories, distribution centers, and even farms shut down under the pretext of “flattening the curve.”

As a result, Americans found necessities were missing on the shelves for the first time in years. Items like hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes were, of course, out of stock.

Soon other items became noticeably missing as well.

People began to notice meat, and even canned vegetables and rice were soon missing from the shelves. Most of this was simply the result of mass panic buying, although “preppers” were blamed for “hoarding.” Therefore, people who had not been prepping all along and were suddenly caught with their pants down.

But that’s not the whole story.

Manufacturing and packaging facilities and slaughterhouses shut down due to intrusive totalitarian government reactions to an alleged pandemic. Combined with panic buying, those facilities’ ability to replace what was bought up was drastically reduced. As a result, consumers were forced to wait weeks before buying what they needed (or wanted) again. Even then, they had to show up in the morning.

We are still experiencing those shortages, though better hidden. As anyone who shops regularly can tell you, you can find what you need, but you may have to go to three stores to get it, where one would have done in the past. In this article, you’ll find some advice about dealing with the limited varieties of inventory that people are currently noticing at stores.

War launched on the economy by state governments put millions of Americans out of work.

Now, when most rational people would be happy to have a job at all amid such high unemployment, they were prepared to stop the machine’s wheels from working.

Workers suddenly started to organize, strike, and walk off the job conveniently when the food supply was already broken. Of course, these workers had not organized or initiated a strike at any time before when working conditions were bleak, and wages were low.

While extraordinary times beget extraordinary reactions, the timing of the newfound sense of workers’ resolve cannot go unnoticed.

At the same time, we witnessed farms dumping thousands of gallons of milk down the drain, meat producers slaughtering animals and burying them, and farmers destroying crops all over the country and the world.

The reason for this is two-fold.

First, many major producers would not want a glut of their product on the market and see their prices dropdown.

Second, with the totalitarian measures forcing the shut down of restaurants across the country, many farms and producers lost a massive part of their market, thus destroying it.

A government genuinely concerned with its people’s health would have bought that produce and either distributed it or freeze-dried and stored it for the coming apocalypse.

Indeed, the Trump administration attempted this with some very minor success and high cost. Food banks at least benefited. But the damage to the food supply was already done.

And then came the winds.

As time moved forward, we saw devastating straight-line winds blow across places like Iowa, destroying massive amounts of crops and farming infrastructure, effects rarely advertised on mainstream media outlets.

Following those winds, we saw massive wildfires along the West Coast’s entirety from Washington to California and as far east as Colorado, South Dakota, and Texas.

One need only take a look at the map at fires seemingly heading east, burning up prairies and farmland all along the way to see that the food chain will experience yet even more hiccups once the smoke has cleared.

But while leftists claim the fires are the natural result of “climate change” and conservatives blame lack of adequate forest management (which has some merit), both completely ignore the fact that close to ten people were arrested for setting these fires.

Repeatedly, arsonists are being arrested for starting blazes though the motive is unclear. Those of us who have studied history, however, can speculate with some certainty.

But these problems are not unique to the United States.

Countries all over the world are experiencing supply chain problems. Australia, for instance, is about to run out of its domestic rice supply by December entirely.

Now, here we are, with winter fast approaching and the food supply decimated. The world’s population is walking around masked and terrified of getting within six feet of another human, and the cities all across America are on fire with violent riots.

Communists and the inevitable response are clashing in the streets and threatening to turn in to a possible American Civil War 2.0. What role will hunger play in this scenario?

At the moment, we can’t say for sure.

But what we can say with certainty is that this will be a very long, very trying winter.

Food shortages are coming, and they aren’t too far away.

You do not have much time left before the items you can grab now are gone and gone for good. Here are some tips for shopping when there aren’t many supplies left on the shelves, and here’s a list of things that are usually imported from China that we haven’t been receiving in the same quantities (if at all) since the crisis began.

Many of the readers of this website will be prepared, no doubt, but others won’t. Not only do we advise you to prepare – but we also advise you to be ready for the unprepared.

Have you seen shortages in your area? Do you still have quantity limits on certain purchases? Some areas seem better stocked than others.

TMIN: Get Prepared for Coming Food Shortages

The Most Important News writes about existing and forecast food shortages in You May Not Understand This Now, But You Need To Get Prepared For The Food Shortages That Are Coming

I was going to write about something completely different today, but I felt that I needed to issue this warning instead.  Even before COVID-19 came along, crazy global weather patterns were playing havoc with harvests all over the globe, the African Swine Fever plague had already killed about one-fourth of all the pigs in the world, and giant armies of locusts the size of major cities were devouring crops at a staggering rate on the other side of the planet.  And now this coronavirus pandemic has caused an unprecedented worldwide economic shutdown, and this has put an enormous amount of stress on global food supplies.

On the official UN website, the United Nations is openly using the term “biblical proportion” to describe the famines that are coming.  Even if COVID-19 miraculously disappeared tomorrow, a lot of people on the other side of the world would still starve to death, but of course COVID-19 is not going anywhere any time soon.

Here in the United States, our stores still have plenty of food.  But empty shelves have started to appear, and food prices are starting to go up aggressively.

In fact, we just witnessed the largest one month increase in food prices that we have seen since 1974.

For a long time I have been warning my readers that eventually a loaf of bread in the U.S. will cost five dollars, and one of my readers in Hawaii just told me that “my wife came home with ½ loaf of bread for $2.99”.

So it appears that the day I have been warning about has already arrived for some people.

Of course the price of meat is going up even faster than the price of bread.  The following is an excerpt from an email that one of Robert Wenzel’s readers in Alaska just sent him

Our local Costco as of now, beef hamburger is $9 a pound, and steaks are $18 a pound. Hamburger was at $3.50 a pound before all this.

Our local butcher shops, that butcher and package the little local beef that is raised here, are all out of meat.

Luckily, I have a couple moose in our freezers, and plenty of canned smoked salmon, and salmon season is coming soon again.

Hopefully the price of hamburger has not nearly tripled in your area yet, but without a doubt meat prices are going to just keep heading higher.

Ultimately, it is all about supply and demand.  Meat processing facilities have been shut down all over America due to COVID-19, and this is starting to create some really annoying shortages

If you go to Wendy’s this week, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to get a hamburger. Go to the supermarket and you’ll probably see some empty shelves in the meat section. You may also be restricted to buying one or two packs of whatever’s available. Try not to look at the prices. They’re almost definitely higher than what you’re used to.

This is the new reality: an America where beef, chicken, and pork are not quite as abundant or affordable as they were even a month ago.

But as I keep reminding my readers, the only reason these meat shortages are so severe is because many farmers are unable to make their normal sales to the processing plants that have closed down.

As a result, a lot of these farmers have been forced to gas or shoot thousands of their animals

For farmers in Iowa, Minnesota, and other Midwestern states, they have had little choice but to euthanize the backlog of animals, which means gassing or shooting thousands of pigs in a day, according to The New York Times.

The financial and emotional repercussions on the farmers are profound. Some farmers lose as much as $390,000 in a day, said the report. So far 90,000 pigs have been killed in Minnesota alone.

In the end, a lot of farmers may have to go out of business after being financially ruined during this crisis, and we will seriously miss that lost capacity in the days ahead.

Because the truth is that global food supplies are only going to get tighter and tighter.  As I have discussed previously, UN World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley has warned that we are facing “the worst humanitarian crisis since World War Two”, and he insists that we could soon see 300,000 people literally starve to death every single day…

“If we can’t reach these people with the life-saving assistance they need, our analysis shows that 300,000 people could starve to death every single day over a three-month period”, he upheld. “This does not include the increase of starvation due to COVID-19”.

And did you catch that last part?

He specifically excluded the effects of COVID-19 from his very ominous projection.

So the truth is that the number of people starving to death each day could ultimately end up being far, far higher.

In wealthy western countries, starvation is not an imminent threat.  But what we are seeing is an explosion of hunger that is absolutely unprecedented.  All over America, people have been lining up “for hours” at America’s food banks so that they can be sure to get something before the supplies run out…(continues)

AYWtGS: Flattening the Curve Vs. Staying Ahead of the Curve

A Year Without the Grocery Store has an article about planning ahead for the next waves of the virus and associated second and third order effects in Flattening the Curve Vs. Staying Ahead of the Curve.

All of us have heard a lot about flattening the curve.  And according to many experts, we have successfully flattened the curve – to a greater or lesser degree depending on where in the country you live.  But we have a new problem now.  People are thinking about re-emerging from their respective lockdowns – whether self-imposed or government imposed.  And all that many people want is for life to return to normal.  Okay, I’ll level with you.  *I* want life to return to normal, but that isn’t my focus right now.  My focus is on getting ahead of the curve.

<img class=”alignleft wp-image-17894 size-medium” src=”https://i2.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_81393979.jpeg?resize=300%2C240&ssl=1″ alt=”” width=”300″ height=”240″ srcset=”https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_81393979-scaled.jpeg?resize=300%2C240&ssl=1 300w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_81393979-scaled.jpeg?resize=1024%2C819&ssl=1 1024w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_81393979-scaled.jpeg?resize=768%2C614&ssl=1 768w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_81393979-scaled.jpeg?resize=1536%2C1229&ssl=1 1536w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_81393979-scaled.jpeg?resize=2048%2C1638&ssl=1 2048w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_81393979-scaled.jpeg?resize=650%2C520&ssl=1 650w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_81393979-scaled.jpeg?resize=600%2C480&ssl=1 600w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />

Getting Ahead of the Curve?

So what I do mean by ‘getting ahead of the curve?’    It’s a fairly common phrase – “getting ahead of the curve.”  In our circumstances, I mean that we need to be able to look toward the future and see what actions we need to take NOW to take care of our families down the road.

Don’t be deceived – this is only the first wave of the virus.  If the pattern of the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 holds true, there will be at least 3 waves of this virus.  So if we are seeing an end to the first wave of the Covid-19, we need to start about thinking about preparing for the second and third waves.  We also need to start trying to figure out what will the financial and practical fallout be for our country, region, state, county, city, and family.

Practical Fallout

One way that we’re already experiencing practical fallout is in the breakdown of our supply chain.  When I was at church yesterday – and yes, for the first time in seven weeks, we actually went to church I spent some time talking with a friend who lives in rural Illinois.  She was telling us that they have friends who work in pig farming.  They started probably two months ago, killing off any baby pigs that they didn’t think were going to be among the best of the litter.  Since then, they’ve taken measures to abort any baby pigs at all.  They know that they aren’t going to have the money to feed those pigs until the meat production plants reopen.

We’re already hearing about how Tyson has been shutting down plants because workers have tested positive for the coronavirus.  We’ve seen shortages of hand sanitizer, toilet paper, garden seeds, soups, pasta, masks, gloves, and so many other things.

So what can we do?  Flattening the Curve vs. Staying Ahead of the Curve<img class=”alignright wp-image-17895 size-medium” src=”https://i2.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873.jpeg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1″ alt=”Flattening the Curve vs. Staying Ahead of the Curve” width=”300″ height=”200″ srcset=”https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873-scaled.jpeg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1 300w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873-scaled.jpeg?resize=1024%2C681&ssl=1 1024w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873-scaled.jpeg?resize=768%2C511&ssl=1 768w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873-scaled.jpeg?resize=1536%2C1022&ssl=1 1536w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873-scaled.jpeg?resize=2048%2C1363&ssl=1 2048w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873-scaled.jpeg?resize=650%2C433&ssl=1 650w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873-scaled.jpeg?resize=600%2C399&ssl=1 600w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />

Start now and watch the news.  What item or items (whether in your area or in the entire country) is likely going to become scarce in the near future?

1.)  Right now, if you have room in your freezer or you can pressure can, picking up extra meat is very important.  Bacon was already out of stock at Costco when I went out (with gloves and mask) last week.  They didn’t even have beef in the form that I usually pick it up.  Pork and chicken are the two types of meat that are in the greatest danger of seeing shortages.  The sooner you can get out and stock up, the better off you are.

2.)  Restock any foodstuffs that you can to bring your food numbers back to where they need to be.  If you’ve been using my book and workbook system to get your long-term food storage to where it needs to be and your short-term food storage to 3 months, then you know what areas you’ve been taking from during these last two months. Make sure that you fill them back up.  We’ve used significant amounts of oatmeal and tomato sauce.  When I was out at the post office today, we stopped at a store to refill our personal stores.

3.)  Restock any non-foodstuff items.  Have you worked your way through almost an entire pack of gloves?  See if you can replenish them.  Do you have to wear a mask when you’re out in public?  Are you running low?  Can you make your own, purchase single-use face masks, or another reusable alternative?  How are you on shampoo, soap, laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent?

Flattening the Curve vs. Staying Ahead of the Curve<img class=”alignleft wp-image-17896 size-medium” src=”https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1″ alt=”Flattening the Curve vs. Staying Ahead of the Curve” width=”300″ height=”200″ srcset=”https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1 300w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=1024%2C683&ssl=1 1024w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=768%2C512&ssl=1 768w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=1536%2C1024&ssl=1 1536w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=2048%2C1365&ssl=1 2048w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=650%2C433&ssl=1 650w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=600%2C400&ssl=1 600w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />Financial Fallout

How stable do you believe your job is?  How about your spouse’s job?  I known and met people who have lost parts of their income because of Covid-19.  I know people who have lost their entire income because of the virus as well.

Even if you think that things are on sure footing, it is a good time now to create an alternate budget.   We have the regular budget that we operate on a month to month basis, but then we have an alternative budget.  First off, If you’ve never used YNAB – You Need A Budget – then I would highly recommend that you check it out.  It is a yearly subscription fee, but it has saved us so much money during the four years that we’ve used it.

So we’ve back to this alternate budget.  It’s a bare-bones budget with every convenience that we feel like we could live without cut out of it.  We aren’t living on that budget, but we’re looking at a time when that might be necessary to live on less.  This enables us to ask, “How much less can we live on?”  And allows us to have concrete numbers as to what we HAVE to bring home…(continues)

The Prepared Homestead: Coronavirus – Six Actions You Should Be Taking Now

The Prepared Homestead has a video out talking about six steps that you should taking right now in regards to the pandemic and resultant/simultaneous supply chain/economic problems. He covers (1) sizing up the situation, (2) scenario development – best, most likely, worst case, (3) taking stock of your financial situation, (4) topping off supplies, (5) growing some of your own food, (6) working on your health. Much of one and two will be familiar to you if you’ve taken or read Forward Observer‘s SHTF Intelligence or Area Study book/classes.

Tri-Cities Potato and Onion Giveaway, May 1st

From KNDU news:

As local farmers are seeing an abundance of crops due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they need to give away some to the community.

Farmers are told to keep their crops as trading with other countries has somewhat stopped as COVID-19 fears mount.

The Tri-Cities farming community will come together Friday, May 1st for a potato and onion giveaway for those who need food assistance.

The owners of AgriNorthwest and Rover Point Farms have teamed up with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to host multiple potato and onion drive-thru giveaways for free.

They are located at the following locations:

2004 N. 24th Ave, Pasco

820 S. Buntin, Kennewick

5885 Holly Way, West Richland

Volunteers will open these locations at noon and will remain open until supplies last.

For more information you can reach out to justservetc@gmail.com.

Zero Hedge: It’s Not Just Toilet Paper, Seed Shortages Spread

Zero Hedge has an article on the growing seed shortage as Americans turn to growing their own food in response to supply chain problems – It’s Not Just Toilet Paper, Seed Shortages Spread As Locked-Down Americans Turn To Growing Their Own Food 

…Americans started buying 3M N95 masks in mid-January, then non-perishables in February, followed by toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and guns.

Now apparently, plant seeds are the next big thing…

Seed companies who spoke with CBS News said they have stopped taking new orders after unprecedented demand. George Ball, chairman of Pennsylvania-based Burpee Seeds, said the recent increase in new orders is “just unbelievable.” The company will start accepting orders again on Wednesday after it stopped taking new ones for several days to catch up on the backlog.

Americans in quarantine are becoming increasingly concerned about their food security. What has shocked many is that food on supermarket shelves that existed one day, could be completely wiped out in minutes via panic hoarding. Some people are now trying to restore the comfort of food security by planting “Pandemic Gardens.”

“If I had to put my thumb on it, I would say people are worried about their food security right now,” said Emily Rose Haga, the executive director of the Seed Savers Exchange, an Iowa-based nonprofit devoted to heirloom seeds.

 “A lot of folks even in our region are putting orders into their grocery stores and having to wait a week to get their groceries. Our society has never experienced a disruption like this in our lifetime.”

One of the most significant trends besides a crashed economy and high unemployment is that tens of thousands of Americans, mainly of the working poor, who just lost their jobs, are ending up at food banks. These facilities have reported surging demand, as a hunger crisis unfolds.

Today’s economic, health, and social crisis has made people realize that relying on supermarkets for food is not a safe bet. Some are now reverting to the land for survival.

Seed Savers Exchange noticed a surge in seed demand started in mid-March, the same time lockdowns across the country went into effect. The nonprofit has also halted new orders to catch up on the backlog.

“We received twice the amount of orders we normally receive,” the company said, adding it has had to hire more staff to deal with rising seed demand.

With America at war with coronavirus, the “Victory Gardens” our ancestors planted in WWI & II have now morphed into Pandemic Gardens. The surge in seed demand suggests a new trend of the 2020s is developing, one where reliance on corporations and government for survival are coming to an end for some people, as rural communities and living off the land is the safest bet in times of crisis…

Medium: What Everyone’s Getting Wrong About the Toilet Paper Shortage

Will Oremus has written an article at Medium.com on What Everyone’s Getting Wrong About the Toilet Paper Shortage, pointing out that it has little to do with so-called hoarding. The fact is that people actually are using more toilet paper at home. There are similar problems with dairy products. With everyone staying at home and mostly eating at home, consumption of milk, butter, eggs, etc. is higher at home, now.

round the world, in countries afflicted with the coronavirus, stores are sold out of toilet paper. There have been shortages in Hong Kong, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. And we all know who to blame: hoarders and panic-buyers.

Well, not so fast.

Story after story explains the toilet paper outages as a sort of fluke of consumer irrationality. Unlike hand sanitizer, N95 masks, or hospital ventilators, they note, toilet paper serves no special function in a pandemic. Toilet paper manufacturers are cranking out the same supply as always. And it’s not like people are using the bathroom more often, right?

U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar summed up the paradox in a March 13 New York Times story: “Toilet paper is not an effective way to prevent getting the coronavirus, but they’re selling out.” The president of a paper manufacturer offered the consensus explanation: “You are not using more of it. You are just filling up your closet with it.”

Faced with this mystifying phenomenon, media outlets have turned to psychologists to explain why people are cramming their shelves with a household good that has nothing to do with the pandemic. Read the coverage and you’ll encounter all sorts of fascinating concepts, from “zero risk bias” to “anticipatory anxiety.” It’s “driven by fear” and a “herd mentality,” the BBC scolded. The libertarian Mises Institute took the opportunity to blame anti-gouging laws. The Atlantic published a short documentary harking back to the great toilet paper scare of 1973, which was driven by misinformation.

Most outlets agreed that the spike in demand would be short-lived, subsiding as soon as the hoarders were satiated.

No doubt there’s been some panic-buying, particularly once photos of empty store shelves began circulating on social media. There have also been a handful of documented cases of true hoarding. But you don’t need to assume that most consumers are greedy or irrational to understand how coronavirus would spur a surge in demand. And you can stop wondering where in the world people are storing all that Quilted Northern.

There’s another, entirely logical explanation for why stores have run out of toilet paper — one that has gone oddly overlooked in the vast majority of media coverage. It has nothing to do with psychology and everything to do with supply chains. It helps to explain why stores are still having trouble keeping it in stock, weeks after they started limiting how many a customer could purchase.

In short, the toilet paper industry is split into two, largely separate markets: commercial and consumer. The pandemic has shifted the lion’s share of demand to the latter. People actually do need to buy significantly more toilet paper during the pandemic — not because they’re making more trips to the bathroom, but because they’re making more of them at home. With some 75% of the U.S. population under stay-at-home orders, Americans are no longer using the restrooms at their workplace, in schools, at restaurants, at hotels, or in airports.

Georgia-Pacific, a leading toilet paper manufacturer based in Atlanta, estimates that the average household will use 40% more toilet paper than usual if all of its members are staying home around the clock…(continues)

Click here to read the entire article at Medium.com

Here is a video of a dairy farmer of Wagner Farms, talking about dairy item shortages and supply chains.

Reuters: U.S. Dairy Farmers Dump Milk as Pandemic Upends Food Markets

From Reuters news service comes a story that hits our region with a good number of dairies, U.S. dairy farmers dump milk as pandemic upends food markets

Dairy farmer Jason Leedle felt his stomach churn when he got the call on Tuesday evening.

“We need you to start dumping your milk,” said his contact from Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), the largest U.S. dairy cooperative.

Despite strong demand for basic foods like dairy products amid the coronavirus pandemic, the milk supply chain has seen a host of disruptions that are preventing dairy farmers from getting their products to market.

Mass closures of restaurants and schools have forced a sudden shift from those wholesale food-service markets to retail grocery stores, creating logistical and packaging nightmares for plants processing milk, butter and cheese. Trucking companies that haul dairy products are scrambling to get enough drivers as some who fear the virus have stopped working. And sales to major dairy export markets have dried up as the food-service sector largely shuts down globally.

The dairy industry’s woes signal broader problems in the global food supply chain, according to farmers, agricultural economists and food distributors. The dairy business got hit harder and earlier than other agricultural commodities because the products are highly perishable – milk can’t be frozen, like meat, or stuck in a silo, like grain.

Other food sectors, however, are also seeing disruptions worldwide as travel restrictions are limiting the workforce needed to plant, harvest and distribute fruits and vegetables, and a shortage of refrigerated containers and truck drivers have slowed the shipment of staples such as meat and grains in some places…

Click here to read the entire story at Reuters.