World Milk Shortage—One of Many Food Product Shortages Worsening Amidst Agriculture Breakdown
December 29, 2012 • 9:54AM

The 2013 outlook reports by different food commodity groups, show a picture of worsening shortages, and loss of production.

A MILK POWDER SHORTFALL is worsening worldwide. Officials at the U.S. Dairy Export Council foresee impossible trade-offs between U.S. domestic needs, and world demand. The Council's Alan Levitt, V.P. for market analysis said to the website (Dec. 27), "The world doesn't have buffer stocks of powder anymore." He said that supplies of milk powder in the U.S. and Europe are half what they were a year ago. Skim milk powder shortages are so "problematic," he said, that "Something has got to give." The world will be "undersupplied in 2013," said the Council's Marc Beck, V.P. for Strategy.

"EXCEPTIONAL" DROUGHT OVER THE OGALLALA AQUIFER REGION, adds to the national crisis of loss of fodder and worry for farmers, ranchers, and for anyone who eats. The Dec. 27 reported:

"According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, roughly two-thirds of the country is classified as abnormally dry or experiencing some level of drought. The most severe level of exceptional drought happens to be over the Ogallala Aquifer, which is the irrigation source for more than a quarter of the United States. With a large portion of the hay and corn supply produced in this region, conditions here will influence the cost of feed and cost of production for dairy producers. Already, cow numbers are dropping by the thousands in the West and Southwest. For California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, the total decline in cow numbers is more than the rest of the country combined.

"While dry conditions raise havoc domestically, a leading dairy exporter to the south is experiencing the opposite extreme. Rainfall and flooding in Argentina have pushed out planting, and with worldwide grain stores already low, a potential shortage could mean even greater vulnerability when it comes to input costs."