A few months ago, President Joe Biden warned food shortages are “going to be real.” He may just be onto something, for the first time in a long time. Americans should take note. Already food banks are turning up empty shelves and food prices are out of control. These are both ominous signs.
Here’s the real question: If the Biden administration’s disastrous handling of the still-unsolved baby formula shortage is any indication, does he have a plan to mitigate potential food shortages? Logic would dictate that supporting America’s farmers would be the first step. To not do so would be like hearing a thunderstorm is coming and not closing your windows.
It appears Biden has taken the second route. “We’re in a crisis right now,” John Boyd Jr., the president of the National Black Farmers Association, warned back in May. In June, he called out Biden for “promis(ing) me a meeting last year” to discuss inflation, with no follow-up.
American farmers are seeing “increased costs across the board,” from fertilizer and pesticides to equipment repairs and seasonal labor. Diesel costs are through the roof amid Biden’s war on American energy. Glyphosate — the active ingredient in one of America’s most widely used weed killers — is up 250% from a year earlier in part because of “supply chain challenges” Biden promised to fix. According to another survey, the Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer from April, 30% of farmers struggled to get herbicides, 27% farm machinery parts, 26% fertilizers, and 17% insecticides.
All of this could mean less food when crops are harvested in the long-term. And American farmers are getting financially clobbered as a result. A recent study from Texas A&M University found farmer profits will drop by 60% in 2022, in part because of higher input costs.
While financial incentives to farm are being eviscerated, the question then follows: Who is supposed to swoop in and pick up the plough? I think I speak for all distraught mothers who haven’t been able to get baby formula: Dear God, please not Biden or anyone in his administration.
Already, supposed Biden “actions” prove the point. The Biden administration just last month proposed what essentially boils down to more expensive weed control that farmers warn would only hurt them.
Let’s hope the looming food shortage crisis that Biden says will “be real” doesn’t turn out to be the Biden Baby Formula Shortage 2.0. The baby formula shortage has shown that when it comes to matters of hunger — potentially life and death — the Biden administration just can’t seem to muster the urgency required to act swiftly and effectively to protect the American people.
A potential food shortage would be different in that it has arguably been precipitated by the Biden administration. In 2020, Biden did say after all: “We don’t have a food shortage problem — we have a leadership problem.”
If this crisis were indeed to hit American shores, let’s not forget who is to blame.
Jim Boyer is a farmer based in Ringsted.