Friday, July 1, 2011

How the Floods May Affect You - Part 1

This is going to be a little different blog post than my normal light-hearted posts because I want to talk about a topic that is being discussed every day in all media sources, but I want to talk about more than just water breaking through levees and water destroying homes which both are horrible events. I think that right now we don't know what the complete impact of this flooding is to the average consumer or even the farm families directly affected. This post is not about me blaming anyone for what is happening, even though I have my own theories...I just want to have an opportunity for people to think about how the floods can affect the average person and everyday consumer, again even though we have no idea at the infancy point of flooding, especially in MO when it will end and what will truly happen inthe long run.

Tonight I want to start at the top where I would consider the situation that they are in as acts of God abnormal rain fall coupled with heavy snowpack has put a portion of North Dakota underwater (exact figure I am unable to find, sorry) and based on the 2007 census 89.8% of the total land is farm land with 87.8% of that farmland owned by individuals and/or families. Based on the National Agricultural Statistics Service who collects data on crops planted and their status across the country, reported today that local USDA offices ‘have been widely quoted saying that 6.3 million acres of North Dakota cropland alone will probably not be planted this year.’ Even though the USDA report that came out today said that crop acreage is only down by 1.5 million acres, regardless that is a lot of acres not in production this year. North Dakota produces 16.5% of all the wheat produced in the US and for those of you thinking that you can live without bread or pasta (especially since 50% of all durum wheat is produced in North Dakota), how do you feel about 35.7% of all barley coming from the state?

What exactly does this mean to you? This is going to be the theme of the flood series, because I think it is important to bring this down to the level of all consumers. Yes I do want everyone to feel badly for farmers and the farm families and those that work in agriculture because it is a horrible thing that they are going through and I am only thankful that my family isn't affected by this particular disaster.
Let's figure that the low number 1.5 million acres will not be into production, and let's figure that would have been durum wheat production. An average bushel per acre for North Dakota wheat is 35 bushels/acres and one bushel can create 42 pounds of traditional pasta. That is 2.2 billion pounds of traditional pasta. Now you all see how I got to these facts and how the figures came to be, they are not statically accurate or should be reused in an economic discussion, they are for demonstration only. I won't even go down the beer route fully, but an acre of barley in North Dakota produces 27,232 bottles of beer. Yikes!
Here are a couple of pictures from a sales rep that I work with in North Dakota.  

Photo courtesy of Steve Pickle, Fargo, ND

Photo courtesy of Steve Pickle, Fargo, ND
A photo from a Minot resident back in mid-May. The flooding is not only affecting people, but also the wildlife.

Tomorrow - Bird's Point and NWMO

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