One by one, they load them in...
Some cattle, but pigs mostly — because it's easier for farmers to slash and rebuild pig herds.
Thanks to the worst U.S. drought in more than fifty years, the cost of feed has soared. And as a result, farmers across the globe have begun a mass slaughter of their cattle and pig herds.
It's a massive liquidation of herds that analysts at the investment bank Rabobank say will result in a 14% increase in food prices next summer. According to Rabobank, the liquidation of millions of pigs has already led to a 31% increase in the price of pork.
Of course, I don't buy any of my meat from conventional industrialized operations. Every ounce of meat-based protein I ingest comes from small, sustainable farms in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia.
Sure, it used to cost a little more. But with these increases on the conventional side, I'm paying about the same price today... and will likely pay a little less by next summer.
Still, most American meal plans rely heavily on tasteless, nutritionally-inferior industrialized meat...
Burgers, bacon, steaks and chicken primarily come from animals fed a steady diet of GMO corn and soy. This has resulted in a nice little setup for the likes of ADM, Cargill, and Monsanto, which receive some pretty hefty welfare checks from their good friends in Washington.
(The latter, by the way, has enjoyed a very comfortable relationship with the Obama administration as well, providing the administration with its “Food Czar” Michael Taylor, former private lawyer for Monsanto, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack — who, when he served as Governor of Iowa, was chauffeured around in a Monsanto private jet.)
I know, I know; I'm supposed to leave the politics at the door before I come in. But the fact is the casualties in this year's devastating drought are not solely the result of Mother Nature reminding us who's boss.
The truth is it's a government run by criminals and thugs that's enabled a system that's exacerbated the fallout of this past summer's drought: Backroom deals, free passes to roam the halls of Congress, and a steady flow of campaign contributions has resulted in hard-working Americans getting screwed yet again!
Not to sound like a broken record, but I still can't wrap my head around the fact that as food prices soar, we continue to devote 40% of our corn production to ethanol.
Folks, corn supplies are so unstable that we're actually “liquidating” cattle and pig herds. We're destroying food so we can fill our gas tanks.
Think about that for a moment...
Think about all the countries across the planet where most people would kill for just a bag of rice or a healthy chicken. Think about all the people who consider themselves lucky to have just one meal a day.
Can you imagine what those folks would say to some well-fed politician in Washington who thinks it makes sense to trade food for fuel?
It's so mind-bogglingly stupid, there can be no other explanation for continuing this renewable fuel standard other than somebody in Washington's getting rich off the backs of taxpayers.
But that's how it goes, right?
So arrogant and self righteous, we're quick to report on the unethical and immoral actions of other world leaders in other parts of the world — when right here at home, our elected leaders are putting more pressure on an already-struggling middle class because of their own unethical and immoral actions.
The Ethanol Illusion
Quite frankly, I'm sick and tired of hearing how much corn-based ethanol has helped us displace foreign oil.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that with domestic oil & gas operations, new enhanced oil recovery technologies, a transition to electric vehicles and natural gas-powered trucks, and something as simple as a higher fuel economy standard, we can accomplish more in ten years than corn-based ethanol could accomplish in 100.
Of course, the silver lining here is that all those things I just mentioned are going to happen. Hell, they're happening right now...
And eventually, no amount of doublespeak or campaign contributions will be able to justify the continued illusion that corn-based ethanol is a good idea.
Economically, socially, and environmentally, it will eventually prove to be one of the slickest government scams ever to pilfer tax payers.
And that's why I continue to support and invest in the real solutions to our dependence on foreign oil. Stake your claim to the most technologically-advanced enhanced oil recovery companies.
Hell, the next time you buy a car, buy one that offers superior fuel economy.
Ford's crushing it right now with a handful of small and mid-sized vehicles that deliver fuel economies in excess of 40 miles-per-gallon. The company's new C-Max SUV Crossover will get you 47 mpg!
Or better yet, is your daily commute no more than 50 miles a day? If it is, consider getting yourself an electric or plug-in hybrid electric car. Use your second car for longer trips and use the electrified car for short distances.
For those folks who really want to kick OPEC to the curb, you now have the opportunity to fuel your car with domestically-produced electrons instead of Saudi oil.
This is game-changing stuff, my friends. Liquidating cattle and pigs so there's enough corn to make ethanol is not.
And the longer we buy the lie that corn-based ethanol is a sustainable solution to our reliance on foreign oil, the longer we'll be addicted to it.
To a new way of life and a new generation of wealth...
@JeffSiegel on Twitter
Jeff is the managing editor of Energy and Capital and contributing analyst for the Energy Investor, an independent investment research service focusing primarily on stocks in the oil & gas, modern energy and infrastructure markets. He has been a featured guest on Fox, CNBC, and Bloomberg Asia, and is the author of the best-selling book, Investing in Renewable Energy: Making Money on Green Chip Stocks. For more on Jeff, go to his editor's page.