Putting food prices in perspective

By Gene Hall

Here in Texas, we nervously watch the skies and the weather reports to see if we can get a clue as to how much rain we’ll get soon and even later on. When a Texan tells you, “What a beautiful day!,” chances are it’s raining.

What does this mean for food prices? I get asked that all the time, and the truth is, I don’t know. It won’t surprise you that I do have an opinion. I think we’ll be okay. Not perfect, but okay.

I’ve also been asked several times to describe the great Texas drought of 2011. I’ve got that distilled to a single word: Epic. It was the worst ever. In 2012, other parts of the country like the Midwest saw a carbon copy of that. We felt especially sorry for them. They are not used to it like we are.

Because of that two-year event, some experts are predicting food price increases of as much as 4 percent. That’s not good news. But remember, that is 4 percent of the 10 PERCENT of disposable income we pay on average for food in this country. For most of us, that’s a minor inconvenience. It doesn’t take away the sting of folks in unfortunate circumstances who do not have enough to eat. The Texas Farm Bureau is allied with a group called Feeding America.  They and I would sure appreciate your help.

For those who must make every nickel count, it’s also good news that our agriculture capacity in the U.S. has not yet “topped out.” We can do more as long as America’s farmers and ranchers are reasonably free to use the technology that makes it possible.

I hope I’m not talking about “the epic drought of 2013″ in a few weeks. That could change a lot of things. But again, if we don’t handicap our farmers and ranchers with silly rules and block the road to technological advances, I think we’ll be okay.

Having enough to eat is so very basic and yet something we should never take for granted.

Gene Hall

Public Relations Director
Texas Farm Bureau
I believe that the only hope for a food secure world is capitalism and reasonable profits for America’s farm and ranch families–that the first element of sustainability is economic survival.
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2 Responses to “Putting food prices in perspective”

  1. Coleburn Davis says:

    Gene,

    At our recent Texas Farm Bureau Leadership Conference, Dr. Ron Sosebee said something that was a little scary. He said that droughts are broken in the fall, not the spring. When you look at the scant rainfall amounts that many in our state received in the Fall of 2012, it paints a grim picture for this coming year.

  2. The Autumn of 2012 reminds be a good bit of the Autumn of 2010. If the progression is into another year like 2011…that’s a scare show that needs no re-run.

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