"It is not only possible, but probable, that there are going to be food shortages.''

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Interesting to find this line in a story from Bangor Daily News titled: High-tech farms unfazed by Y2K. But hey (Cherri), it also contains a prediction from Gary North, so it must be worthless, huh? Dated today. <:)=

By Sharon Mack, Of the NEWS Staff

Y2K and agriculture - at first glance, an unlikely partnership. But more and more, technology is ruling how farmers plan their plantings, manage their herds and market their products.

Farming is now often called "information management.''

Computer chips hang from the necks of cows, triggering milking machines. Global Positioning Satellite readings detail crop yields. Computers track breeding and birthing schedules and statistics.

Blueberries and potatoes are stored in computer-operated food storage or refrigeration systems.

Y2K - January 1, 2000 - when computers across the country will either recognize the new millennium date or crash - is predicted by some to be a doomsday and by others to be nothing more than a minor glitch.

Because technology controls everything from how much fertilizer is applied to a specific field to when a cow needs to be bred, agriculture will not be immune from problems.

There are no accurate statistics on how many Maine farms are run by computers, but a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture survey stated that 11 percent of all farms worth $10,000 or less were computerized, while 47 percent of farms worth more than $100,000 use computers for farm business.

Compounding what could be a big problem for consumers, agriculture relies on the transportation industry to put the food on the table, and most Y2K experts are pinpointing transportation as the weakest link in the chain.

How affected will Maine's agriculture community and consumers be? Are farmers fretting about the impending Y2K crash date, or are they worried, more simply, about the weather?

Linda Smith Dyer, deputy commissioner of the Maine Department of Agriculture, said this week that farmers have not been asking state officials for help.

"If there is a problem at all,'' she said, "they must be handling it by themselves.''

David Marcinkowski, dairy specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, said Thursday that his agency also has not been receiving appeals for help from Maine farmers.

At Piper's Farm in Embden, more than 500 cows are milked around the clock, controlled and tracked entirely by computers. Computers open and close gates, track milk production and individualize feed rations.

"We've updated equipment and we've bought new software,'' Betsy Rogers, the farm's administrative assistant, said Thursday. "We think we're covered, but no one really knows for sure, do they?''

Meanwhile, seed manufacturers and nurseries are reporting a large increase in the number of people growing vegetable gardens and putting away food for the winter this year.

A Pennsylvania-based seed distributor offered a "Y2K Garden'' packet of seeds earlier this year. It contained up to 254 envelopes of seeds containing almost every variety of vegetable and herb.

Closer to home, Johnny's Selected Seeds in Albion reports an upswing in sales of nonhybrid, open pollination, heirloom seed varieties.

"These are the kind you would save,'' explained Tim Forsman, community projects specialist.

Forsman said many of his customers attributed fear of Y2K as the reason for hoarding or purchasing seeds.

"One gentleman called up and ordered a pound of tomato seeds,'' Forsman said this week. "When we asked him if he was sure, if he realized how many seeds that was, he said yes, that he was going to use them to barter with his neighbors.

"A lot of people said they were afraid, that they felt the same way,'' Forsman said.

Johnny's Selected Seeds did not advertise any special Y2K packets, choosing not to cash in on people's fear that food shortages will occur, Forsman pointed out.

Still, he said, some accessories that the company sells have been in high demand, including mills used to grind grains and seed sprouters that would allow fresh greens to be grown inside during the winter months.

If consumers don't choose to grow and process their own food, the question remains whether food still will be available on the grocers' shelves come mid-January.

Many Y2K experts are predicting food shortages in large cities, particularly in fruits, vegetables and other foods that are imported.

Geri Guidetti of The Ark Institute in Maryland is a biologist who moderates an Internet forum on Y2K and agriculture (www.arkinstitute.com). The Ark Institute monitors the world's food supply, promotes self-sufficiency and sells seeds.

"The writing is on the wall,'' said Guidetti recently. "It is not only possible, but probable, that there are going to be food shortages.''

Guidetti said the entire food distribution and supply system is extraordinarily vulnerable because modern agriculture and food production have grown heavily dependent on technology.

The Internet has hundreds of new food sites aimed at Y2K survival. They are selling dried food, dehydrated food, bulk and canned foods - everything from grains to dairy powders, fruits to organic and kosher dried foods.

One pessimistic Internet site, operated by agriculturist Gary North (www.garynorth.com) predicts: "There will be little effect until it comes time to sell the livestock. If things are really bad, we may be bartering for butchers. Or worse, trying to protect the herd from bandits.''

Both Hannaford Bros. and Shaw's Supermarkets, the two major food chains in Maine, claim Y2K readiness.

Hannaford has even placed checklists in grocery sacks, at some store locations, advising customers to "be prepared, whether you're concerned about severe winter weather, or Y2K,'' according to spokesperson Karen Elliott.

The checklist includes products "to stock up on,'' ranging from bath tissue to bottled water.

Hannaford's Web site claims: "All of Hannaford's stores, distribution centers and suppliers are Y2K ready and we expect little or no disruption in grocery supply. It may be to your preference, however, to stock up on some items ....'' Hannaford also is identifying products on its store shelves with a sign "Be Prepared, Stock Up Item.''

Shaw's warehouses are fully prepared, said spokesperson Bernard Rogan.

"Just like when we are expecting a big snowstorm or hurricane,'' said Rogan, "it is a good idea to plan ahead in Maine and be prepared for anything.''

Both Shaw's and Hannaford's said that they believe almost all their vendors and suppliers are Y2K ready, as well.

USDA Secretary Dan Glickman hasn't released a statement regarding Y2K and agriculture since last February. But at that time, he said, "Overall, USDA is very encouraged by the analysis of the Year 2000 readiness within the food supply. The American people need to know that safe, affordable food will be available on, before, and after January 1, 2000.''

Glickman's comments echo the position of the Grocery Manufacturers of America and the Food Marketing Institute. GMA President Manly Molpus told a U.S. Senate special committee earlier this year: "Bottom line, the preliminary results show that the majority of food manufacturing companies have completed the correction of Y2K problems.

"Our industry has been quietly tackling this issue for some time, and feels well prepared to deliver food to consumers when the new millennium arrives.''

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 10, 1999


"operated by agriculturist Gary North"

Just noticed that. Hummm... <:)=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 10, 1999.


Did you also notice that your subject line is a quote from a seed merchant?

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), September 10, 1999.

There's also the question of what will happen in regards to foods that the U.S. imports from overseas:



Ahold USA, the fourth largest grocery store conglomerate in the United States, has spent more than $50 million since1996 for Y2K readiness, according to Senior Vice President Patrick Roberts.

Roberts says Ahold's greatest worry is disruption of its international supply chain for goods such as sugar, fresh fruits, coffee, tea and, above all, pharmaceutical drugs.

"More than 70 percent of drugs sold have some foreign component. For most, there is no good alternate supplier," Roberts said. "This is the area over which we have the least control, and, potentially, the highest risk."


-- Linkmeister (link@librarian.edu), September 10, 1999.


Sure did. Also noted that he's a biologist. I also liked this part:

"seed manufacturers and nurseries are reporting a large increase in the number of people growing vegetable gardens"

and this part:

"The Internet has hundreds of new food sites aimed at Y2K survival." (A little more than the few that get beat-up here)

Maybe more people are taking a serious look than we thought.

So what do you think, a balanced article? A quote from the king doomer, but all ends well.

Tick... Tock... <:00=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 10, 1999.


If more people are preparing, I'm all in favor. It can't possibly hurt, and may be very helpful. But something about a seed merchant guaranteeing a food shortage rubs me wrong. I simply don't believe that biologists can see the future better than anyone else. And such a *narrow* prediction, too. Do you suppose if he sold soap instead, he'd be predicting dust storms?

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), September 10, 1999.


OK, forget the headline and this guy. Any connents in this:

"Many Y2K experts are predicting food shortages in large cities, particularly in fruits, vegetables and other foods that are imported. "

Who is many? Just North and Yourdon and us doomers, or maybe a few people that know what's going on?

Rock on Flint. I'm not in a fightin' mood tonight. Still recovering from 9/9. <:)=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 10, 1999.

No, he would be predicting a bad body odor plague.

-- SmartA** (SmartA**@SmartA**.com), September 10, 1999.


I've heard about possible food shortages too. But "many experts" was once translated from the journalese as "my brother-in-law", unless someone specific is mentioned. So I don't know, but I don't place much faith in articles like this, any more than I place great faith in *any* article where the vested interest is so straightforward.

I must say I admire your chutzpah in posting such a thinly-veiled advertisement, in light of the sensitivity to such items.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), September 10, 1999.


I'm not happy that Johnny's Selected Seeds is taking the super cautious route.

Other seed companies have provided warnings that Y2K could cause seed shortages; thus, they suggest customers should exercise wisdom and stock up on non-hybrid seeds and necessary gardening tools.

Maybe JSS doesn't want heat from the government. Maybe they don't want increased sales. Maybe they don't GET IT.

If they did, they would be sounding the alarm!

Any seed company worth its high germination potential would have planted more than the average annual amount of plants in order to harvest more than the average annual amount of seeds in order to anticipate more than the average consumer demand.

I am not aware that most seed companies have done so.

If you readers have lots of non-hybrid seeds, PLEASE STORE THEM AT COOL TEMPERATURES. Warm and comfy houses are not the best places to keep seeds at optimum viability.

The Territorial Seed Company suggests a Fahrenheit temperature of 51 degrees. If you can, use your refrigerator, basement, root cellar, or coolest place in your house.

Since I don't have a basement in the house I rent, I have stored most of my seeds miles away in a dry basement. I am so thankful to God for this place!

For the most part, I don't expect rural towns and communities to experience the worst.

However, those in larger cities cannot have adequate space to grow sufficient crops.

Face the facts: It's impossible to grow all you need to survive in a high rise apartment. Window blocks are inadequate. Tiny plots on abandoned lots are inadequate.

I foresee a mass exodus of people from large cities when the luxuries of running water and heat cannot be provided.

-- Randolph (dinosaur@williams-net.com), September 10, 1999.


Yea, it'a an advertisement for www.garynorth.com. Or maybe I did a search on Gary North + prediction, considering some of the other threads tonight. Cut me a break. You know my style.


Thanks for your input.

Tick... Tock... <:00=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 10, 1999.

Farms worth less than $10,000? Farms worth $100,000? They don't happen here in Hawaii! I can get you a nice 1/4 acre (almost!) building lot for maybe $80,000. Tillable land - with decent soil, level enough for tractor work, with adequate water - is expensive...when you can find it fee simple! It was that way in California, too.

-- Mad Monk (madmonk@hawaiian.net), September 10, 1999.

And Flint,

The stats page shows you with 2197 posts, and me with 2192, a close race!

When's the last time that you ever saw me advertise anything, old buddy? <:)=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 10, 1999.


I didn't at all mean to imply that you were advertising anything. But this article was clearly an "infomercial".

And look at Randolph! If it's the government trying to avert panic, they are liars without even having to read what they said. If they are opportunists trying to boost seed sales, they should be even *more* blatant and less circumspect in their propaganda!

I don't believe that you would agree with Randolph that the rules of evidence with respect to y2k are irrelevant, that all that's important is the conclusions, however a priori they may be. I prefer to believe that you have come to a considered conclusion. And although I disagree with your conclusions (and confidently expect you to concede within the next 8 months or so, of course), I respect how you arrived at them. And if you're right, I'll be glad to say so.

Randolph, meanwhile, picks his preferred result with all the analytical depth of a bimbo cheerleader.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), September 10, 1999.

Flint, have you read Congressman Horn's September 10, 1999 Federal government status report yet?? I don't think you'll be concerned with Seed Merchants after reading this DEVASTATING document!!

Your Polly days are numbered!!

Your Pal, Ray

-- Ray (ray@totacc.com), September 10, 1999.

I remember last year when someone on DeJager's e-mail list asked about Y2K and farming. The amount of technology involved in farming surprised me.

Fortunatly the rollover is in the winter for most of the northern hemesphere. So as far as planting etc is concerned there will be a lot of time to resolve any potential problems.

Not so for the rest of "farming".

I was glad to hear (last summer) of the intence investigation into all areas related to farming. Agriculture is big business, but also involves a multitude of small businesses (single family farms). The Family farms have a vast interconnected network that has existed for over a century. From 4H to co-ops they work with each other and share information.

I cannot remember what organization it was that jumped on the Y2K situation that I learned of last year, I think it was The Dept. of Ag. for anyone who is interested in looking into what they have done and where they are now in their efforts to thwart the problems they have found.

The cows HAVE to be milked, it gets painful to them if they aren't. I know, I had to work through lunch one day while nursing and it wasn't in the least bit pleasant. Not to mention I started leaking on the lead engineers desk!

-- Cherri (sams@brigadoon.com), September 10, 1999.


Like I said, I'm not in a fighting mood. This "infomercial" is an article in a daily newspaper. As you know, if I find something interesting in "the media" I bring it back, and post it here. Now, if you would care to discuss "the media" perhaps we should continue this in one of yesterday's threads. There are still a few there where I didn't get an answer from you. If you're going to make me go find the links, fine.

But, I'm not in a fightin' mood tonight!

Tick... Tock... <:00=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 10, 1999.


Thanks for your input. Nice to see something constructive for a change. You just gained back a little respect. <:)=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 10, 1999.


I'm not trying to fight with you at all. I just pointed out that this article reflects a clear bias, and your threat title highlighted it. As for biases the other way, they're probably even more numerous.

I'm sorry if I've dropped some conversations you'd have preferred me to continue. I try not to do this, but I do need sleep and I can't post at work. And by the time I come home from work, if nothing has been added to a thread all day, I assume nobody is really interested in that thread and drop it. I guess I'm wrong about this sometimes, but all in all I find it difficult to believe that anyone would look forward to one of my posts [grin].

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), September 10, 1999.


Why the personal attack?

What do you mean by my "bimbo cheerleader" depth of analysis?

Please elucidate and expound.

I know you are highly intelligent, and I have never said you were stupid. So what gives with the insult?

Anyway, I'm glad you've prepared for any potential crisis.

What I wonder is this: Do you have adequate land to grow vegetables and fruits?

I don't know where you live. WHERE DO YOU LIVE?

I live in the most northwestern county of Ohio (Williams), and there are many potential spots for future gardens.

How do you plan to manage with yourself and your neighbors to grow sustainable food crops?

-- Randolph (dinosaur@williams-net.com), September 10, 1999.


I know, it's just too damned busy here. Actually, I do like to BS with you. You're not a bad guy, for a "polly."

Let's let this thread die, and go play somewhere else. <:)=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 10, 1999.


Please don't let this thread unravel until Flint answers my questions.


-- Randolph (dinosaur@williams-net.com), September 10, 1999.

It is probable that there will be energy shortages....could be rationing. If we have energy shortages, then we will have food shortages; at least shortages of the almost unlimited selections that we now have in our average grocery stores. It is hard for me to believe that ANYONE cannot understand this simple analysis. It is my guess that rationing will occur, and hopefully farmers will have some type of preference for fuel for tractors,etc. But even with that, consider the fuel problems of the transportation industry. Food is going to get "local" in my opinion.

-- jeanne (jeanne@hurry.now), September 10, 1999.


Your advice about preserving seeds is doubtless accurate and helpful, as is your advice about how much land is required to grow a meaningful amount of food properly. I don't have any problem with that.

But it isn't the purpose of a *news article* to start sounding the alarm about food shortages by quoting seed sellers. If JSS wants to take out full-page ads, whose purpose is to try to terrify the gullible into bulk seed purchases, fine, they're welcome to try this. At their expense for the ad space. A news article quoting seed sellers to the effect that there will be food shortages is simply irresponsible journalism. That was the problem I had with Sysman's selection of article. It's actually an advertisement, thinly disguised as news.

Now, we get to the question of whether we'll need seeds, at least those of us who have never needed them before. My answer to this is NO, plain and simple. My reading is that you have decided we should all grow our own food, and you'd like to see straight news articles encouraging us to prepare at this level, taking it for granted that we'd suffer this degree of devolution. Which is absurd on the face of it, and NOT the blatant propaganda that belongs in straight news, no matter how devoutly you may personally be married to this misconception.

As a footnote, my concept of a 'bimbo cheerleader' is one who has selected a "designated winner" for reasons only dimly understood, but who cheers for that side with ardor undiminished in any way by this lack of depth.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), September 10, 1999.

It would seem to me that the first step in growing a garden for food would be to purchase seeds. It would also seem that people who sell seeds would be in a good position to comment on the sales of seeds, thus an indication of those people who plan on growing some of their own food after Y2K hits. It does not seem to be unreasonable to look at this situation and to draw conclusions of future activity. I would liken it to the government keeping track of those people who receive permits for building houses (housing starts) as this is also the first step in the housing process and it gives the observer a good idea of what may occur in the future. IMHO it seems that the comments and statistics of seed sellers would be of interest.

-- smfdoc (smfdoc@aol.com), September 10, 1999.

Sysman, regarding your opening rhetorical question about Mr.North, mark me down for a 'yes'.

Thanks just the same.

-- Bad Company (johnny@shootingstar.com), September 10, 1999.


OK, I just cracked open a Heineken. First of all, I asked you to ignore the headline, and ignore the commercial aspects of this article. Do you see any other value here? This is, after all, a newspaper article, what J. Q. Public is reading about Y2K.

As for Randolph:

"My answer to this is NO"

Maybe that's your answer, but from this article, it seems that many people are saying YES. Once again, I'ld like to thank Randolph for his input. This is my thread!

And as for:

"belongs in straight news"

What the hell is that? Is the "Second seccessful Y2K power grid test" yesterday straight news? Is the "FAA is 99% compliant" Sept 1998 story straight news? That's not what Jane really said, but that's what John Doe saw, or heard, or read in "the media".

The media writes a summary, a 5 minute story. It may be "spinning". It's us nuts, that spend half of our time looking at this, that know what's really going on. I just can't figure out why you and I have such a different view, Flint. We read the same stuff...

Tick... Tock... <:00=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 10, 1999.


I consider those other articles you mention to be spin also, no question about it. Remember a while back someone suggested that in addition to DGI and GI, there's a GIW (Got It Wrong)? Well, I think most of the GIW types are in the media, and most of the rest conduct surveys.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), September 10, 1999.


Maybe, but how wrong can one be? How much is important? If you look at Weiss, he rates the banks at 94% (I believe), but good old Uncle Sam says 99%. By the way, there's that "just short of 100%" again, not to mention, who was that, that said "99% isn't good enough", but that's another story. That last 1% really is a bitch. I know.

So we have a difference of only 5%, but with 10,000 banks, what's 500 or so between friends???

And before you get on me about Weiss, all I can say, from the article, is something like "respected by the GAO, and consumer organizations".

Tick... Tock... <:00=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 10, 1999.

Geri Guidetti of The Ark Institute in Maryland is a biologist who moderates an Internet forum on Y2K and agriculture (www.arkinstitute.com). The Ark Institute monitors the world's food supply, promotes self-sufficiency and sells seeds. "The writing is on the wall,'' said Guidetti recently. "It is not only possible, but probable, that there are going to be food shortages.'' Guidetti said the entire food distribution and supply system is extraordinarily vulnerable because modern agriculture and food production have grown heavily dependent on technology.

Yup Ark institute DOES sell seeds, but this is only about 5% of what they do. They have been looking at the food supply, grain supply, etc for longer than ANY of us have been concerned about Y2K. Go to the site and have a look. I bumped into her site about 4 years ago. Chuck

-- Chuck, a night driver (rienzoo@en.com), September 11, 1999.

Thanks for the point Chuck. <:)=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), September 11, 1999.


Cows don't get merely uncomfortable if they cannot be milked, they very quickly sicken and die, or have to be destroyed.

But I'm glad to see that you are waking up. Liked your post on the 'pipeline' thread.


-- Pinkrock (aphotonboy@aol.com), September 11, 1999.

Ok here's a link from the USDA's web site where you can access the Gartner Groups 3rd quarter assessment of the Nation's Food Supply. This assessment needs Word to open it. The assessment is grim at best. Out of 26 categories 10 have a 58% probability of failure. Of those 10 3 are of major importance in our food chain, foodserve wholesalers, general line grocery wholesalers and feed. Gartner does start out stating it is highly unlikely the failures will be catastrophic in nature. I can only wonder what their definition of catastrophic is?

Well I will leave it to ya'll to draw your own conclusions.

-- Stacia (ClassyCwgl@aol.com), September 11, 1999.

oops i forgot the link LOL http://www.usda.gov/aphis/FSWG/ here it is

-- Stacia (ClassyCwgl@aol.com), September 11, 1999.

ok i am new at this, gonna try again


-- Stacia (ClassyCwgl@aol.com), September 11, 1999.

Hi, Flint:

Thanx for the private E-mail.

Your phrase "protocols are eternal" made me LOL! :)

I had hoped that most of the seed companies with which I am familiar would be more Y2K aware of potential shortages, but I have not seen enough "public" press.

If any of you have a green thumb and adequate soil to garden, then please order more seeds.

You won't regret it. Just remember to store them at cool temperatures.

If you can't use them, you can barter them.

When the American economy collapses, these seeds will be worth MORE than gold.

Don't believe me? Then plant a Kruggerand in rich loamy soil and wait 1,000,000,000,000 for your money tree to produce edible results.


-- Randolph (dinosaur@williams-net.com), September 11, 1999.

I read what Geri Guidetti had to say about seed storage on another forum several months ago. (can't find the link, sorry) She says that research from BYU indicates that humidty is a lot more important than temperature in seed storage. Its got to be dry folks. Think about how hot it is in the Egyptian desert, yet wheat found sealed in containers from the pharoahs time sprouts - because they kept it dry! Get some silica gel (they sell the stuff to dry flowers in) at walmart. Put your seeds in an airtight container and put some silica gel (it looks like sand) in the bottom of the container. (leave your seeds in the paper packages - the gel will draw any moisture out through the paper). I have a friend who is too cheap to buy silica gel. He uses table salt. If the salt gets clumpy, he dries it in an oven, and when its cool, pours it back in the airtight container (an old mason jar) with his seeds.


-- Berry Picker (BerryPicking@yahoo.com), September 12, 1999.

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