What are the risks of food shortages? Vittert weighs in.

Morning In America

(NewsNation) — America’s farmers have issued a warning of the perfect storm of rising prices, supply chain issues and poor planting weather that could lead to widespread food shortages by the end of this summer.

NewsNation’s Leland Vittert weighed in on the shortages during an appearance on “Morning in America”.

“Right now roughly half of the amount of corn, soybeans and wheat that are normally in the ground aren’t there,” Vittert said. “So you have a potential for November, December — if the weather doesn’t change, the farmers aren’t able to get funding to buy more seed and to buy new equipment and to continue to buy diesel fuel which is gone through the roof. If they’re not able to do that, you have this compounding effect of big shortages.”

Specifically, corn shortages have the potential to reverberate up the U.S. supply chain, according to Vittert.

Because corn is an ingredient in everything from animal feed to soft drinks to ethanol fuel, the shortage has the potential to drive food prices higher nationally. 

“It goes way, way beyond just not having corn on the cob at your local barbecue,” Vittert said.

According to John Boyd Jr., the president of the National Black Farmers Association, “You’re gonna see a lot of empty shelves and a lot more higher prices.”

“For those people who haven’t been to the grocery store lately. The prices are already rising, and they’re gonna continue to go up,” he said. “This is a time where American needs to pay attention to what’s going on to farmers. Because you know, you may not need a doctor or a lawyer or something like that, but you need a farmer every day.”

And it’s not just in the United States, according to Vittert.

“You’ve got wheat shortages as well that come a lot from Ukraine because of their wheat supply,” he said. “The Brits right now, the Bank of England warns of an apocalyptic global food shortage. And typically, we’re used to the British being reserved.”

So are farmers predicting there’s a way out, is there a way to avoid avert a crisis?

“Is there a way this doesn’t happen? Sure, the weather turns, diesel prices go down, banks loosened up loans for these farmers and the like,” Vittert said. “But a lot of farmers that we’ve talked to aren’t putting stuff in the ground because they just can’t afford to. And that then means that there’s going to be shortages.

According to Vittert, the government doesn’t have the means to intervene, there’s not some great stockpile of corn somewhere.

And “once you pass the growing season in the planting season, you can’t suddenly put a lot more corn in the ground come August,” he said.

This comes as more than 40% of the nation’s baby formula still remains out of stock.

Infant formula maker Abbott says it’s reached an agreement with U.S. health officials to restart production at its largest domestic factory, a key step toward easing the nationwide shortage.

“The real takeaway from the baby formula crisis is just how one minor thing, meaning one plant closure in America, can have this enormous effect on something that we take for granted,” Vittert said. “You don’t have to get that much supply from the system, in this case, one plan a baby formula for there to be matched shortages around the country.”

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