Massive Agriculture Disruption in Northern Plains--Obama/Buffett Policy--Worsens Food Breakdown from Drought and Globalism
May 20, 2014 • 6:13AM

Massive disruption to agriculture in the Northern Plains continues from the lack of rail service, resulting from Warren Buffett's Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad (BNSF, a unit of his Berkshire Hathaway), transporting the Bakken Shale fracking oil, and delaying everything else, fertilizer, propane, and moving out crops. Endorsed by Obama as 'making the U.S. the new Saudi Arabia,' this so-called "energy boom" is a concoction of the Anglo-Dutch financial crowd creating conditions for depopulation.

The South Dakota Corn Growers Association still needed to ship out over a third of its held-over 2013 harvest, as of early May, an unheard of situation.

The disruption in the northern High Plains adds to the devastation to agriculture and the food system from the drought and inaction in the Southwest, especially in Texas and California, as well as the southern High Plains.

In the northern states of the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, there are daily headline reports of severe damage to all sectors of agriculture, cereal grains, oilseeds, sugar beets and more, whose impact is terrible, not only for the immediate U.S. food supply, but in terms of the globalized world food chain, which already is producing far below breakeven.

Delays in rail cars and service have resulted in the literal pile-up of unshipped corn, beets, wheat; and processing plants unable to get supplies in. In North Dakota, corn stocks from 2013, hit an all-time record as of March 1, at 192 million bushels. Another example, the giant processor General Mills, maker of Wheaties and Cheerios, reports it is short of oats. Its overall output fell 4% in its quarter ending in February, after it lost 62 days of production during that period.

These, and other specifics were reported in a round-up of the crisis, done by the Journal Sentinel of Milwaukee (jconline.com), May 17. "At Southwest Grain, a 3,500-member farm cooperative granary based in Taylor, N.D., general manager Delane Thom worries there will be no hopper cars at his three loading terminals as the winter wheat harvest starts to come in.

"'Railroad BNSF has yet to deliver about 500 cars that he was promised in February and March,' Thom said.

"'All you have to do is look out the window to see all the tanker trains going by, taking up track space,' Thom said."

BNSF handles almost half of all grain transported by rail nationwide. Grain growers are losing millions of dollars they can't afford. Grain handlers (elevators, brokers) are docked a penalty of 3 to 10 cents, per bushel, per day, for late shipment. This means the shipper can lose as much as $10,000 per trainload. It is ultimately passed on to the farmer. Thousands of farmers are forced to hold off even selling their crop. The price of the grains involved has dropped, accordingly.

Decline in World Wheat

Put this Upper Plains mess into the context of the world grains situation, e.g. wheat. The May report of the monthly World Agriculture Supply and Demand Report, by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, figures that this year's U.S. wheat crop will be down some 10% from last year. World wheat production for the 2014-2015 year, is expected to drop by 2%-plus or more, from last year, falling from 714 million metric towns, down to 697 mmt, when more food of all kinds is desperately needed.

You can go through each type of crop and food the same way. Plus, there is the deadly factor of food-for-fuel. Of the world's total corn harvest, the U.S. accounts for one-third, but of that, 40% goes for ethanol. The residual ("distillers grains") going for livestock feed, including for export, makes it in no way less insane.