Friday, April 25, 2008

Economy?

Every time you turn on any news station, recession is blasted over and over. Here in Kansas at least, we're not feeling it except for the house market and gas. Gas is about $3.49 a gallon and if you have a house here in town, well you'd better plan on staying in it unless you are giving one heck of a bargain. Jobs are easy to come by since in this area there is tons of aerospace and other manufacturing plants around.

However I've been a bit taken back by the whole seriousness they have been expressing on our supposed food shortage. I never really thought too much about it till now. We all know I think that farmers are raising more corn for ethanol for us and other countries which in turn is going to create a ripple effect on everything else. Farmers see more dollar signs right now with corn per bushel than wheat. Corn is not only used is thousands of food products and gas, it's also used in all animal feed. I can tell you that in the last month a bag of sweet feed jumped $1.50 in my town and I only have 1 horse to feed. Imagine farmers with herds of pigs and cows. Yikes.

Have you thought about this at all? Maybe it's just because I have some knowledge of farming but here's some of the problems which I see as really scary.
  • Less corn for sweet feed, prices will sharply rise on chicken, eggs, beef and dairy because it's going to cost a fortune to feed them.
  • Same thing, but hay. Now we've already had hay problems during the winter due to droughts but less hay means more money for what's available. We buy hay for $3.50 a bale, during a shortage though it can rise to $6-7 a bale. Rounds are normally $35 but can rise to$70 towards the en of winter. Again more money on chicken, eggs, beef and dairy.
  • More corn grown for gas, less wheat. Imagine that one. Now there's your food shortage right there. There goes the rise of bread products, any food with gluten in it really.
They are suggesting we all grow gardens because produce is soon to rise, however I don't believe farmers are taking crops of veggies and fruits and switching them out with growing corn. I could be wrong but I think it would be much easier for a farmer to stop planting wheat and grow corn instead since it takes the same machinery. I think produce prices rising would be more of mother nature conditions than corn production.

So what are you doing? Anything? Here's a few of the things we are going to do. First. Be Conservative. If prices are going up of everything, I'll do my best to keep other prices down, cut corners where I can. Since my clothes line broke, I'm buying a new one to hang all the clothes again this summer. We have a few starts but will be planting a garden again this summer like we always do. I would love love love for Dave to let me get into chickens but we can't agree on this. I want to raise organic chicken for eggs and then take them to in to be processed when need be. I plan on buying a half a cow and filling the freezer sooner than later because I could never butcher my own pet cow. lol If I leave the house, I usually do several things in one trip anyways but I will try to make trips more efficient by listing everything on my dry erase board so I can see it then do it all when I'm out. We are going to be sinking as much as we can into savings "just in case." We will not buy anything unless we have the money for it (no credit cards), well except the van but it's only going to cost about $10K when all is said and done.

Does my plan seem extreme or am I just adding to the panic? lol I sure hope Schwans doesn't add a bigger fuel surcharge when I order. It's already $1.

7 comments:

Kbreints said...

You know working in the Real Estate market I do feel the difference with the housing cruch-- however Farm Land is sselling at an all time high. And people are selling it liek crazy b/c of that. I do not really do antyhing right now different than usual - i think that if I stayed home I would-- but as it is, I don't have time to change anything.

utmomof5 said...

I agree with you! I do not think the economy is as bad as the media makes it out to be. I think they like to be extreme. Your way of living is great no matter what the economy is like. Could you imagine of the entire country didn't use credit cards and only had loans for homes and/or cars. And if people actually saved money as opposed to spend, spend, spend, charge, charge and charge some more.

I can't wait to move so I have room for my garden. I am one of those people who are taking a killing in the housing market, myhouseis for sale at a price well below what it appraised for. O well, what is a girl to do.

Wendy said...

No it doesn't sound drastic at all!
We are doing similar things. We are planting a garden and we too bought a 1/2 of beef. We also ride our bikes, walk or take the bus more. And we stopped using our credit cards and are saving.

Mama Kalila said...

I've wanted for quite awhile to be able to have a garden & maybe some chickens - at least for the eggs. We're in an apt now though... someday.

We're doing a few things like that too but I'm not sure how much of it is because of the "economy" unless in a really roundabout way. We're just starting out & have a 7 month old. I'm a SAHM (and want to stay that way) so we're cutting corners just to make it. Honestly though it doesn't bother me because I'm finding that I like a lot of it. For instance I've fallen in love w/ cloth diapers. Now... I wish I could go buy tons of books whenever I please (I love reading) & splurge on imported dark chocolates & such... but I can live with budgeting in one or two every so often lol.

Kristi Ann said...

Man, gas is KILLING me!

I cant even think about all the other crap....

I already am getting migraines! LOL

Take care and be smart (like you are doing)

It will all work out.

maryellenlewis said...

My family became vegetarian (almost) as a result of the high food costs. We very occasionally eat some meat, but we mostly eat beans and rice or lentils with vegetables. I've realized recently that I cannot even tolerate dairy anymore, so in a sense we are almost vegan. I don't grow veggies (very hard in a 6th floor apartment building) but I do usually go to the local farmers market. Oh, and we don't own a car, we use only public transportation.

Jess said...

Sabrina, I am worried too. I think the spike in gas prices is only the first big indicator of things to come. Food is already getting so expensive. I like to feed our family organic food but at this point I have to be selective because it is too damn expensive. Organic milk, yes, cheese no, etc. We are also eating less meat, especially red meat. I have to cut corners somewhere and we are still spending $200 per week on food for basically a family of 3 since Gabriel is a long way from eating food.

I'm cloth diapering to save money there, and I am going to start stockpiling by using the Grocery Game. I'm not going to keep huge bags of rice on hand or anything but I am going to start shopping more wisely, stop being brand loyal except in very specific cases (like peanut butter, I have to have Skippy Natural!) and being a better meal planner so we don't waste as much food. I would totally line dry all my clothes and keep chickens if our HOA would let me! I am even getting around the clothes line restriction by hanging a retractable one and going out early and hanging.

I am also trying to drive less. Here in KS I use about 5x more gas because everything is so spread out than it was in D.C. Gas is probably going to be more than $4 per gallon come this summer and that is going to hurt.

We make a very livable income, comfortable even, and I can only imagine how hard this is all going to be for people who are living below the poverty line. It is crazy, no wonder people in poverty eat mainly processed junk like mac n' cheese and potted meat- it is all they can afford!