Impacts Of Oil Shock And Economic Decline On Farm Production

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Nichoman's picture
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Impacts Of Oil Shock And Economic Decline On Farm Production

Would like to share a finding (underlined, italicized below) which I found compelling and get others feedback, agreement, disagreement on.


This past Easter Weekend, I met with most of my wife's family (most in farming, agriculture) who wanted to meet and discuss this topic, (plus investing) from conversations I had with them last summer into the fall as things have proceeded close to what I stated earlier.  

Besides our meetings being lengthy (8 plus hours), very energized and productive, which I suggested they pre-buy their petroleum products into next year which they said they could do.  There was a compelling view that came up that I've not seen yet discussed here.

They envision and stated a 30 to 60 percent decline in farm production is possible...if not probable.  This is based on their experiences, plus supported by changes in crop yields past 50-100 years and how much petroleum will be available. 

They farm successful, very size-able acreages, over several decades, using sophisticated record-keeping, state-of-the-art techniques etc.

Do others realize how much energy is used in farming, plus fertilizer (petroleum-based) such anhydrous ammonia, herbicides (more petroleum), hybrid crops, etc. to get the yields of today? 

Would be interested in others views on this magnitude of decline and impacts to society.

OBSERVATION: They and many farming neighbors are incredibly frustrated (angry) with our leaders.  These are down to earth people.  Its a good thing its planting season as I've never seen them so worked up as a group (dozens).  They asked me if others are as frustrated as them. I told them yes...if you have any suggestions, ideas or opinions to share...I'd could pass some of that along.



RussB's picture
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Re: Impacts Of Oil Shock And Economic Decline On Farm ...

That's why America's number one priority should be the defossilization and relocalization of the food production system. It's already known that organic methods can be more productive than heavy fossil fuelling, and are vastly superior socioeconomically.

The Post Carbon Institute just put out a good blueprint, The Food and Farming Transition.

I'm not a farmer myself (in fact I'm only now starting my first garden), but more and more I'm seeing this as the organizational and political issue of our time.



EndGamePlayer's picture
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Re: Impacts Of Oil Shock And Economic Decline On Farm ...

Exactly, for those who can not grow any of their own food, they should be very aware of how to access it locally and get connected with those now.

We started a Zero Energy Farm ( just for researching how we can grow ALL our own food and enough to sell as well as develop seed stock. It would take farmers YEARS to re-think how they do things so I see fields around us sitting empty for years.

However, farmers come in 2 catagories- those who can figure anything out and those who couldn't think for themselves no matter what happens. I'm hoping I live near the first kind.


Vanityfox451's picture
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Re: Impacts Of Oil Shock And Economic Decline On Farm ...


For me, this defines quite fully, exactly where we're headed :-

Farms For The Future

Today, I spent an hour or two with my neighbour Ishtvan, who has spent a great deal of time and money heating 18 polly-tunnel green houses so as to grow chinese lettuce. He has one more week to sell them before he'll have to plow them back into the ground. He's tried selling to his own country of Hungary - Italy, France, Austria, Germany - his last chance is through Russia.

This is the first time since 1992, and a different political reason entirely, that he's had to reckon on plowing stock back into the ground. He and some 30 other small farms are similarly in trouble with the same results within 10 kilometres of here.

 Tesco, which is similar to Wal Mart in the USA in many respects, is importing and selling a much smaller non-organically grown equivalent for exactly half the price that Ishtvan can even grow it. Thankyou Free Market Trade, the IMF and the World Bank plus many an NGO for this result. On the back of oil, anything is possible. With oil with its back to us and on the wrong side of peak, this is the first signs these local farmers have seen of the approach to a different growing medium other than watching as fertilizer slowly and silently tripled in price in just two years.

These people don't sit around crying about it. When they see a spade, they call it a spade. I see a great many hungry mouths by October globally. Big Box organisations see only profits to their share-holders. You cannot put a value on a human life morally. This is an immoral age that will act accordingly.

In the film :-

The End Of Suburbia


Matt Simmons quote in the film :- ' The only scientists that seem to have taken this really seriously are the old-timers. Where as the young guys are mesmerized by the technology. We created a generation and a half of 'Nintendo Geologists', that sit at their work-stations and basically move around images until they say, "Wow, look at that bright spot...!" '

As we've seen with house prices in the US become parity with 1992 prices over a period of time, it took a while before the issue became mainstream. The same can be said in regard to jobs. The next is people living in tents in one of the richest countries in the world with similar mirroring to some Asian countries whose rich skyscraper homes are up in the distance and in view of a million people starving and dying from preventable desease. Wherever you place your take on reality, I'm not too sure how even Jon Stewart will find comedy in mass starvation on an American street.

It won't be long before people will run out of social security credits in the old US of A...

8 months and I think we'll have our vision...




Ready's picture
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Re: Impacts Of Oil Shock And Economic Decline On Farm ...
Vanityfox451 wrote:

8 months and I think we'll have our vision...

While I hope you are wrong, I think you are right.

I hope that this fall's (northern hemisphere) harvest is bountiful and everyone has a large root cellar dug!


Vanityfox451's picture
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Posts: 1636
Re: Impacts Of Oil Shock And Economic Decline On Farm ...


I've said this on a few threads already - 'I Ache...'

We can talk politics - we can talk money - we can talk of invention

We can't create anything of the above without food to drive it.

There was a transcript of an interview with Bernard Leitaer I found a while ago that had this piece in it that sheds a great beacon of light on our situation :-

" Assume that a Martian lands in Denver on the wrong side of the
tracks. He ends up in one of the ghettos and finds that the houses
are run down, the kids not taken care of, the elderly in trouble, and
the trees dying. He sees all these things, and discovers that there
are people and organizations absolutely equipped and ready to solve
every one of those problems. So this Martian asks, "What are you
waiting for?" The answer: "We're waiting for money." "What is money?"
the Martian inquires. "It's an agreement in a community to use
something as a medium of exchange." Don't you think he may leave the
planet believing there is no intelligent life here? "

5 out of 6 just to sustain the planet are the odds. You and I and our friends and family could well still be part of this obvious reality.

For me, and for the last week or so, I've had to step back, stop writing so much on this forum, and begin again to read right at the very beginings of it just to get my mind clear and back on track. I've spent so long trying to wake people up I was begining to faulter. I won't trip again...



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