Your First Food Security Warning

Posted by Ian Cooper - Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

From Energy and Capital:

My wife and I were driving back from Rockville on Saturday when she told me about the massacre in Tucson.

I was driving as she was strolling through the story on her phone, commenting every few seconds on how horrible the whole thing was.

I have to say, I was pretty down the rest of the day...

I've hit that point of complete frustration and disgust, knowing that things have just gotten completely out of control.

And there's plenty of blame to go around.

Like a lot of folks today, I'm not going to sit here and place all the blame on the media or certain public figures...

But I sure as hell don't buy that both don't play a role in the increasing number of violent and desperate occurrences like the one last week -- albeit an indirect one.

From the blatant lies of "death panels” and "mandated circumcisions" to the manipulative tactics of media bullies like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. . .

Any person who has distorted truth in an effort to push a partisan agenda -- and then followed up with calls to action — must own up to the fact that his or her unethical behavior has provided fertile ground for misdirected anger and violence.

They are anarchists of good taste, terrorists of untruth; and this past weekend, my disgust with their actions hit a new high.

Although I will admit that there are still two things I find equally disgusting right now: the random groups of people who are actually praising Jared Loughner (not sure when killing innocent people became a praise-worthy action), and a small group of gun control activists that is using this opportunity to demand more regulations — some of which are now commenting on a planned Obama administration crackdown on Mexico border gun dealers that was delayed just a few days ago.

No more excuses  just rational solutions

This new rule would require gun dealers in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas to report sales of two or more high-powered semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines to the same person within a five-day period.

So what about a six-day period? Would that be OK? Would those have to be reported?

Of course, if you need a few dozen high-powered semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines, you're probably not going to roll into a sporting goods store with a credit card or a wad of cash...

Especially since I've been told that finding someone to sell you multiple firearms can sometimes be about as easy as finding someone to sell you an ounce of pot.

Now please understand that I'm not trying to trivialize what happened in Tucson. There's no two ways about it: this was an absolute tragedy. And every person responsible should be held accountable.

But this experience should also be used to unite our country in an effort to find peaceful andrational solutions to our problems — not an excuse to pressure law-abiding gun owners...

Especially now that Peak Oil is here.

From recreation to necessity

A couple of years ago, I was having dinner with some colleagues. We were talking about Peak Oil and the best way to prepare for a post-Peak world.

We made a list of things we'll need and have updated this list over the years... but one of the items on that list has not changed.

And that's a hunting rifle.

You see, today, hunting is not typically considered a poor-man's sport. Hunting gear, guns, ammunition — it's all pretty expensive. But what happens when hunting turns from a recreational endeavor to an absolute necessity?

Here's what I mean...

If I go out and bag a nice-sized buck, I could probably get about 150 pounds of meat to feed my family.

But in order to get to that point, I have to shell out about $500 for my gun, gear, ammunition, and butchering.

Now this past weekend, our local grocery store was selling regular ground beef (not steaks or chops or anything like that), for $3.50 a pound.

So for 150 pounds of ground beef (the same amount of meat I'd get from that buck — which would also include steaks, roasts, and chops), I'd have to shell out $525.

Of course, once that meat's gone, it's gone. But once we've eaten everything that buck provided, I just go back out and get another one — not having to spend much more, since the gun and gear are already paid for.

Now here's where it gets interesting...

While regular ground beef was going for about $3.50 a pound last weekend, you can bet that it won't take more than another two to three years before that price more than doubles.

Between feeding costs, logistical costs, operational costs — all of which are directly related to the price of oil — the days of “cheap” food will soon come to an end.

After all, we can only continue to subsidize this stuff for so long.

Can you imagine how much it would cost to feed all that cattle in this country with corn if that corn wasn't so heavily subsidized?

And sadly, corn is not even the best diet to feed our cattle. As author Michael Pollan pointed out all the way back in 2002:

Most of the animals we eat (chickens, pigs and cows) today subsist on a diet of corn, regardless of whether it is good for them. In the case of beef cattle, which evolved to eat grass, a corn diet wreaks havoc on their digestive system, making it necessary to feed them antibiotics to stave off illness and infection. Even farm-raised salmon are being bred to tolerate corn -- not a food their evolution has prepared them for. Why feed fish corn? Because it's the cheapest thing you can feed any animal, thanks to federal subsidies.

But again, how long do we think these subsidies can last?

I believe that in a post-Peak world, hunting will, in fact, move from recreation to necessity.

And as a result, companies like Cabela's (NYSE: CAB) and Sturm, Ruger & Company (NYSE: RGR) will benefit.

Of course, how we get our meat is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to securing our food supply, now that we have entered into a post-Peak world.

So next week, I'll share with you Part II of this series where we'll take a look at food supply security and some of the companies that could benefit in a world where $150 oil becomes the norm.

To a new way of life, and a new generation of wealth...

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Jeff
Editor, Energy and Capital


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