John Klar: Why food is about to get very expensive

Americans are witnessing frighteningly high rates of inflation — gasoline prices increase by 10 cents a day lately, it seems. Interest rates are rising and set to continue shooting up, compounding home affordability hampered by a seismic spike in home and land prices. In Vermont, used car prices have increased 21% in the last year (an average of $31,907 for a used car), and heating oil is approaching $7 per gallon. But the much greater threat is food inflation.

John Klar

Food prices for many staples like bacon and hamburger have already shot skyward under what the Biden administration dismissed last year as “transitory” inflation and now blames on the War in Ukraine.  The enormous infusions of newly printed (borrowed) money under COVID continues to trickle through the economy as inflation, undermining real wages, inflating asset values, and ultimately impacting vital industrial inputs such as fossil fuels. The industrial food system is particularly vulnerable to these pressures.

Fuels such as gasoline and diesel till the ground; plant the seed; spray the fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides; and harvest and transport the crop. But these and other fuels (especially natural gas) are the core resources from which modern synthetic fertilizers are derived, and other vital inputs such as potash and phosphorus must be shipped long distances. Fertilizer prices have doubled in the last year; plastic wrap, baling twine, and other essential haymaking supplies are scarce and very costly.

Consider a hamburger, with all the fixings. Commercial lettuce, tomatoes and onions will likely have been harvested using layers of fossil fuel inputs in some far distant location, then processed and transported to Vermont using yet more expensive energy (vegetables from Chile and China will soon be much more costly as well as less trustworthy and less fresh).

The cheese on your burger might be local, but if not it was manufactured with multiple fossil fuel inputs. The bun might seem simple enough, until one ponders how many field applications by tractors were involved in supplying the wheat from which it was baked. If the input costs of wheat production escalate permanently, the compounded impact on price is exponentially greater than the underlying commodity inflation.

This will become even more evident in the meat part — the burger is made from cows that convert grain and other feed as energy. Because most modern beef is raised in Confinement Animal Feed Operations (CAFOs), the cows are delivered feed derived from energy-intensive grain crops using industrial equipment. The entire American meat production system has become tightly integrated in recent decades, utterly dependent on cheap energy. As fuel prices escalate, the impact on food prices is likely to be cataclysmic. Sustained inflation will make the bulk of the nation’s industrial agricultural system economically as well as ecologically unsustainable.

Vermonters who remember the Great Depression will recall the dangers of dependency on others for food. But those same minds understand how very far short from that self-reliant agri-culture the Green Mountain State has become since. Farms have been decimated for 100 years, even more so under COVID, yet plans for EV cars and solar panels on every home, or equity panels to extirpate ancient Vermont sins, or more taxes to save the planet, continue to eclipse real work to improve local food security and availability. This should be the number one issue for the Vermont legislature, which has instead dithered with expanded criminalization of speech against so-called public servants, amending the Constitution for no practical effect, and distributing money and healthcare based on race and sexual preference.

My campaign slogan when I ran for Governor in 2020 was “Farms Close, Bureaucracy Grows!” That is more obvious now. The State of Vermont added tens of millions of dollars to the agriculture budget — to hire more bureaucrats to work for the Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food and Markets, while yet more dairy farms closed! These endless expansions of taxation and regulatory overreach have decimated our small farms, at the peril of all.

President Biden is aggravating fuel prices, inflaming social divisions, and targeting a nation’s liberties due to individual psychotic killers — but he does not appear to be concerned one bit about food. It is almost as if he is distracting voters from the most important issue in their lives: healthy sustenance.

That hamburger and the bun, cheese, and veggies — even the salt and special sauce — are all going to increase in cost while most citizens’ incomes stagnate or decline. Will the Vermont bureaucracy react as usual, and tax citizens into famine by invoking their poverty as grounds for another inefficient rescue “pogram”? When will the Vermont Legislature reaffirm the vital Vermont agrarian traditions that it has instead tarnished as racist, intolerant, and hateful? Why don’t we elect farmers to represent and provide for us in times of food crisis?

If the Vermont Legislature can’t fund pensions, restrain budgets, or tax people fairly, how can it possibly govern our food supplies? We need farmers to produce food: let the bureaucrats dine on their elitist cake while those who understand land stewardship have a voice.

Perhaps Vermonters could trade carbon credits from their pine trees for caviar from their wealthy climate-justice neighbors. Caviar is not as filling as a hamburger, but it’s better than snowballs.

John Klar is an attorney and farmer residing in Brookfield. © Copyright True North Reports 2022. All rights reserved.

Image courtesy of Public domain

17 thoughts on “John Klar: Why food is about to get very expensive

  1. “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”.

    –Edmund Burke

  2. The Left is utterly oblivious to this coming tsunami beyond their mantra that high prices will be Putin’s fault. But it won’t stop at higher prices; some things may simply cease to be available. War criminal Henry Kissinger said long ago, “Control the food and you control the population.” And that’s exactly what is coming, possibly in the form of rationing and “food passports” linked to a digital ID–already being implemented in Iran:

    It’s time to support what farms we still have any way we can, especially buying directly from them through CSAs. And start a garden if you can. The so-called elites HATE self-reliance.

  3. What would the Trumpist Republicans (who Klar appeals to as a sheep dog) or Trump himself, do differently than what Biden is doing? Who in theory, that is the propaganda from both camps might lead you to believe, or in practice. The latter is there isn’t much difference between the two. Biden is giving us more of the same. Oil production is about the same as Trump’s was. Biden moon walked away from allot promises against new drilling. Truth is, the same things would be happening. Trump signed the Cares act, a $5 trillion mostly upward transfer of wealth, and he made shure his name was on the checks. Stop pretending there is a difference.

    • No difference (tsk, tsk) between today and the fall of 2019 (pre-pandemic). Except that wages were rising faster than inflation back then, and people were actually working for a living. Tax revenues were at record levels, even with the tax cuts. Gas was cheaper. Heating oil was cheaper. More minorities were working than ever before. The southern border was in some semblance of control. There were no major wars. And there was plenty of food.

      Golly. Now that you mention it about Biden’s policies, how much better can it get? For a minute, I thought we were in real trouble. Thanks for setting us straight.

    • Sir, you make numerous (incorrect) judgments. For one, I wrote strongly against the Trump deficit, and it is sad you perceive you can make everything about Trump, even now. But Trump doubled the standard deduction for the poorest of citizens, which made a huge difference, and much of hid deficit spending led to massive repatriation of foreign held corporate holdings for reinvestment. I have objected to both deficits, but they are quite different in character — and the last $4 trillion of Biden’s money-printing was frittered away on arts projects and other unproductive waste. So I have coitized both administrations — it’s just that one of them is the current one. But also, is the article not about better food for ALL? And are you saying that President Biden IS doing something to help food prices and farming?

  4. Klar,

    The factors that are increasing prices are:

    1) Increased inflation, due to an out-of-control avalanche of deficit spending by the Biden teleprompter controllers

    2) Increased coal, natural gas, oil and electricity prices, due to:

    a) sanctions on Russia, which had been demanding for eight years to implement the Minsk Agreements, but nothing was done,

    b) Biden sending our oil and natural gas to Europe, which is finally learning variable, intermittent wind and solar are merely supplementary sources to the electricity mix.

    3) Increased materials prices, such as cobalt, nickel, tungsten, copper, etc., due to increased EV production outstripping the production of such scarce materials

    4) Supply chain disruptions, due to excessive, politically motivated COVID shutdowns, shortage of LNG carriers and other ocean ships, and sanctions on potash, which is mined, and nitrogen-based fertilizers, which are made from natural gas, which reduce production of big grain exporters, increase hunger, food prices, etc

    • Exactly. WE must attract more. Perhaps awarding $10,000 payments to Vermont farmers to expand production would be wiser than bribing out-of-staters to relocate. But there is hope — there are thousands of young farm families who want to earn a living in Vermont, and much that can be done to make that more feasible, for the benefit of all. But we need more (non dairy) farmers).

      • Canada imports Dutch greenhouse technology, and provides subsidies to build them and provides nearly free gas heating to ensure year-round crops, which are exported to the U.S., courtesy of NAFTA, etc.

  5. Don’t forget the terrible damage from the Enviro-Lefist- wet-dream…Corn Ethanol. They dreamed up that enviro scam back in their days of hoisting the old “Peak Oil” lie. Turns out that was false (like so much they believe in). When was last time you heard Peak Oil? Remember the Ozone Hole? Peak Population scare? Acid Rain? Anyway, people in Africa are starving. People are starving in the USA. But Enviro Liberals insist that 35% of the TOTAL USA corn crop…millions & millions of acres… be used for…ETHANOL (to save the world?). Ethanol lessens your mileage. It is not good at all for your engines. It is expensive to make and needs fossil fuels… Farmers use huge amounts of fertilzer on it, which leaks & spreads to other soils. They don’t rotate crops as much. And taking 35% of the USA crop for ethanol makes all food more expensive (when they could use that acerage for Wheat & Soybeans also, to feed the world’s poor). It’s…Pure…Liberal….Lunacy….( just what you’d expect)…..Memorize this what playwright (and past Vermonter) David Mamet said: “…”In order for democrats, liberals, progressives et al to continue their illogical belief systems, they have to pretend not to know a lot of things’

      • It is Liberal Enviro Democrat Insanity….92 million acres of CORN – for ethanol!. Let’s starve poor Africans & Americans 🙂 Furthermore…since this corn is not for human consumption…they FERTILIZE/PESTICIDE the heck out of it. And they may not rorate crops for soils, as often.. Over fertilized seeps stuff everywhere, perhaps into groundwater areas. The soil can get tapped out because of overuse, fewer rotations and heavy fertilizer & pesiticde use…..and get this….HA HA HA…where are all these corn seeds coming from? GENETICALLY MODIFIED to grow as big as (Frankenstein) possible :)….It is ALL waaaay too funny if it was not so sickening. Liberal Enviros are insane.

        FYI? I used ethanol gas in some of my equipment and it ruined a couple…I learned my lesson. I had to go to town to ONE station that sold NON ETHANOIL PREMIUM. DO NOT use ethanol gas in chainsaws, lawn mowers, lawn tractors, weed whackers etc…

        I don’ty know how else to say it in a nice way…..but Democrat = Dppe.

      • I once had a 1988 VW Quantum with a 5 cyl engine. Before ethanol gas it got 24-26 mpg. After ethanol was mandated, it got 18 at best. Tell me again how it helped.

        • That’s interesting. Are new car mileage numbers derived using ethanol or real gasoline? If the government mandates 15% ethanol, we will have to buy ethanol-free gas (at quite a premium) if you don’t want to ruin your engine.
          Maybe it’s just part of the green plan….

  6. Oh but the Left and it’s dupes weren’t satisfied with a healthy economy pre covid which it appears the Left had a hand in engineering. They were angered by mean tweets,so the most costly experiment took place to replace mean tweets with the fraudulent imbecile and thus the economy must be destroyed and tanks but no more mean tweets and We The People are paying the costs.

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