Goodbye Petrodollar, Hello Agri-Dollar?

Tyler Durden's picture

When it comes to firmly established, currency-for-commodity, self reinforcing systems in the past century of human history, nothing comes close to the petrodollar: it is safe to say that few things have shaped the face of the modern world and defined the reserve currency as much as the $2.3 trillion/year energy exports denominated exclusively in US dollars (although recent confirmations of previously inconceivable exclusions such as Turkey's oil-for-gold trade with Iran are increasingly putting the petrodollar status quo under the microscope). But that is the past, and with rapid changes in modern technology and extraction efficiency, leading to such offshoots are renewable and shale, the days of the petrodollar "as defined" may be over. So what new trade regime may be the dominant one for the next several decades? According to some, for now mostly overheard whispering in the hallways, the primary commodity imbalance that will shape the face of global trade in the coming years is not that of energy, but that of food, driven by constantly rising food prices due to a fragmented supply-side unable to catch up with increasing demand, one in which China will play a dominant role but not due to its commodity extraction and/or processing supremacy, but the contrary: due to its soaring deficit for agricultural products, and in which such legacy trade deficit culprits as the US will suddenly enjoy a huge advantage in both trade and geopolitical terms. Coming soon: the agri-dollar.

But first, some perspectives from Karim Bitar on CEO of Genus, on what is sure to be the biggest marginal player of the agri-dollar revolution, China, whose attempt to redefine itself as a consumption-driven superpower will fail epically and very violently, unless it is able to find a way to feed its massive, rising middle class in a cheap and efficient manner. But before that even, take note of the following chart which takes all you know about global trade surplus and deficit when narrowed down to what may soon be that all important agricultural (hence food) category, and flips it around on its head.

Karim Bitar on China:

Structurally, China is at a huge disadvantage as it accounts for 20% of the world’s population, but only 7% of arable land. Compare that with Brazil which has the reverse of those ratios. What that does for a country like China is to incentivise the adoption of technification. Let’s look at their porcine market, which represents 50% of global production and consumption. In China, to slaughter roughly 600 mn pigs per year, which is about six times the demand in the US, they have a breeding herd of about 50 mn animals. In the US, the comparable number is only about 6 mn so there is a huge productivity lag.


Owing to its structural disadvantages, China is much more focused on increasing efficiency. For that, it needs to accelerate technification. So, we’re seeing a whole series of government incentives at a national level, a provincial level and a local level, focusing on the need to move toward integrated pork production because that’s a key way to optimise total economics, both in terms of pig production, slaughtering, processing and also actually taking the pork out into the marketplace.


The Chinese government is important as a customer to us because of its clarity of vision on food security. It has seen the Arab Spring, and it is cognisant of the strong socio-political implications of higher food prices. Pork prices could account for about 25% of the CPI, so it knows it can be a major issue. It’s because of all these pressures, that China is more focused on responding to the food challenge. It’s a sort of a burning platform there.


...Take milk production in China and India. China is basically trying to leapfrog and avoid small-scale farming by adopting a US model. In the US, you tend to have very large herds. Today about 30% of US milk production is from herds of 2,000 plus, and we expect that to reach 60% within the next five years. Today in China, there are already several hundred dairy herds of over 1,000. However in India, there’ll be less than 50. The average dairy herd size is closer to five, so it’s very fragmented. So the reality is that a place like China, because of government policies, subsidies and a much more demanding focused approach to becoming self-sufficient, has a much greater ability to respond to a supply challenge rapidly.

The problem for China, and to a lesser extent India, however one defines it, is that it will need increasingly more food, processed with ever greater efficiency for the current conservative regime to be able to preserve the status quo, all else equal. And for a suddenly very food trade deficit-vulnerable China, it means that the biggest winners may be Brazil, the US and Canada. Oh and Africa. The only question is how China will adapt in a new world in which it finds itself in an odd position: a competitive trade disadvantage, especially its primary nemesis: the USA.

So for those curious how a world may look like under the Agri-dollar, read on for some timely views from GS' Hugo Scott-Gall.

Meaty problems, simmering solutions

What potential impacts could a further re-pricing of food have on the world? Why might food re-price? Because demand is set to rise faster than supply can respond. The forces pushing demand higher are well known, population growth, urbanisation and changing middle class size and tastes. In terms of economic evolution, the food price surge comes after the energy price surge, as industrialisation segues into consumption growth (high-income countries consume about 30% more calories than low income nations, but the difference in value is about eight times). Here, we are keenly interested in how the supply side can respond, both in terms of where and how solutions are found, and who is supplying them. We are drawn towards an analogy with the energy industry here: the energy industry has invested heavily in efficiency, and through innovation, clusters of excellence, and access to capital has created solutions, the most obvious of which are renewable energy and shale. The key question for us is, can and will something similar happen in food?

It’s hard to argue that the ingredients that sparked energy’s supply-side response are all present in the food supply chain. In food, there’s huge fragmentation, a lack of coordination, shortages of capital in support industries (infrastructure) and  only pockets of isolated innovation. We suspect that the supply-side response may well remain uncoordinated and slower than in other industries. But things are changing. Those who disagree with Thomas Malthus will always back human ingenuity. As well as looking at where the innovators in the supply chain are (from page 10), and where there are sustainably high returns through IP (e.g., seeds, enzymes etc.), we need to think about the macro and micro economic impacts of higher food prices, and soberingly, the geo-political ones.

Slimming down

Could the demand destruction that higher energy prices have precipitated occur in food? There are some important differences between the two that make resolving food imbalances tougher. Food consumption is very fragmented and there is less scope for substitution.

Changing eating habits is much harder than changing the fuel burnt for power. And, ultimately, food spend is less discretionary that energy, i.e., the scope for efficient consumption is more limited and consumers will not (and cannot) voluntarily delay consumption, let alone structurally reduce it. This means that higher food prices, especially in economies where food is a greater portion of household spending, will lead to either lower consumption of discretionary items or a reduced ability to service debt (with consequent effects on asset prices). When oil prices spiked in the late 1970s, US consumers spent c.9% of their income on energy vs. an average of 7% over the previous decade. And yet, the total savings rate rose by c.2% as they overcompensated on spending cuts on other items. 2007-09 saw a similar phenomenon too. Even the most cursory browse through history shows that high food costs can act as a political tinderbox (so too high youth unemployment), and we believe there is a degree of overconfidence with regard to the economic impact of food prices in the West: food costs relative to incomes may look manageable, but when there is no buffer (i.e., a minimal savings rate) then there are problems. Food spend as a percentage of total household consumption expenditure is a relatively benign 14% in the US, versus c.20% for most major European nations and Japan. This rises to c.40% for China and 45% for India. Of course, as wages rise, the proportion of food within total consumption expenditure falls, but that is only after consumption hits a ceiling. Currently, India and China consume about 2,300 and 2,900 calories per capita per day, compared to a DM average of about 3,400. If the two countries eat like the West, then food production must rise by 12%. And if the rest of the world catches up to these levels then that number is north of 50%.

The scramble for Africa’s eggs

In terms of ownership of resources, food, like energy, can be broken into haves and have-nots. While there are countries  that have been successful without resources, it is quite clear that inheriting advantages (in this case good soil, climate and water) makes life easier. But that, of course, is only half the battle; what is also required is organisation, capital, education and collaboration to make it happen. Take Africa. It has 60% of the world’s uncultivated land, enviable demographics and lots of water (though not evenly distributed). Basic infrastructure, consolidation of agricultural land and minimal use of fertilisers and crop protection could do wonders for agricultural output in the region. But that’s easier said than done. Several African economies also need better access to information, education, property rights and access to markets and capital. Put another way, it needs better institutions. If Africa does deliver over the coming decades, rising food prices will alter the economics of investing in the region. The next scramble for Africa should be about food (while it is about hard commodities now and in the late 19th century it was about empire size). Fertiliser consumption has a diminishing incremental impact on yields, but Africa (along with several developing economies elsewhere) is far from touching that ceiling. Currently, Africa accounts for just 3% of global agricultural trade, with South Africa and Côte d'Ivoire together accounting for a third of the entire continent’s exports. But if the world wants to feed itself then it needs Africa to emerge as an agricultural powerhouse.

Higher up the production curve is China, which has been industrialising its agriculture as it seeks to move towards self sufficiency. Power consumed by agricultural machinery has almost doubled over the last decade, while the number of tractors per household has tripled, driving per hectare output up by an average of more than 20% over the same period.

Even so, in just the last 10 years China has gone from surplus to deficit in several meat, vegetable and cereal categories. So a lot more needs to be done, and a shortage of water could also prove to be an impediment, especially in some of its remote areas.

The power of the pampas

With significant surpluses in soybeans, maize, meat and oilseeds, Brazil and Argentina have led the Latin American  continent in terms of food trade. Current surpluses are 6x and 3x 2000 levels, versus only a 30% increase in the previous decade, and are rising. A key impediment to boosting exports is infrastructure. Food has to travel a long way just to reach the port, and then further still to reach other markets. Forty days is possibly acceptable for iron ore to reach China on a ship from Brazil, but that would prevent several perishable food items from being exported. And hence, solution providers in terms of durability, packaging, refrigeration and processing will be in demand. Also, while you could attribute a lot of the agricultural success of LatAm economies to good conditions, they have also benefitted from the adoption of agricultural innovation. For instance, more than a third of crops planted in the region are as seeds that are genetically modified, versus more than 45% in the US and about 12% in Asia. Genetically modified crops are not new. They provide solutions to some of the most frequent constraints on agricultural yields (resistance to environmental challenges including drought and more efficient absorption of soil nutrients, fertilisers and water) or add value by enhancing nutrient composition or the shelf life of the crop. And while the adoption of GM crops and seeds is far from wholehearted, particularly in Europe, it’s most certainly a key part of the solution in economies that are set to face a more severe food shortage.

The last mango in Paris?

Europe’s deficit/surplus makes for interesting reading. Seventeen of the 27 EU countries face a food trade deficit, and yet, the EU overall recorded a surplus (barely) in 2010 for only the second time in the last 50 years (see chart). Broken down further, the UK is the largest food importer, followed by Germany and Italy, while the Netherlands and France lead exports thanks to their very large processing industries. If Europe’s future is one of relative economic decline, then reduced purchasing power when bidding for scarce food resources is an unappetising prospect. Therefore, it needs all
the innovative solutions it can muster, or import substitution will have to increase. It’s important to note that being in overall surplus or deficit can mask variety at the category level, i.e., Europe is a net importer of beef, fruit & vegetables, and corn, while its exports are helped by alcohol and wine specifically. Japan, in particular, is very challenged. It is the only country in the preceding table to show a deficit in every single food category.

We conclude our trip around the world in North America. Large-scale production, access to markets, a home to innovation
and favourable regulation has meant that the US (and Canada) continues to dominate some of the key agricultural resources such as soybeans, corn, fodder, wheat and oilseeds. Put this self sufficiency together with the medium-term potential for energy self sufficiency and relatively good demographics (better than China), and a rosier prognosis for the  US, versus the rest of the Western world and parts of Asia, begins to fall into place.

Agri-dollars on the rise

Before we conclude, we need to devote a few lines to the geo-political and macro economic consequences of higher food prices. It’s likely that countries will act increasingly strategically to secure food supply, and that protections (e.g., high export tariffs) may well rise. It is also likely that there are special bi-lateral deals to access stable and secure food supply.

This could obviously damage the integrity of the WTO-sponsored system. Another consequence might be the emergence of agri-dollars, in the same way that petro-dollars emerged in the 1970s. This may seem far fetched (the value of the world’s energy exports is US$2.3 tn compared to US$1.08 tn for agriculture) but it’s important to think through the consequences. The big exporters, especially those with the scope to grow their output, may well have sustainable surpluses that can be reinvested into their economies (or extracted by a narrow part of society). Similarly, the consequence of being a net importer will be an effective tax on consumption: disposable income in the US would jump if oil was US$25/bbl.

As we have said, we would expect the big gainers of a meaningful rise in food prices in real terms to be Brazil, the US and Canada, while Japan, South Korea and the UK would face challenges. The top chart is important: look how China’s surplus has turned to deficit. What will happen if the Chinese middle class swells as it is expected to? And that’s  the rub; what we have been used to in terms of food’s importance is set to change. How food moves around the world is likely to change, and the flow of currency around the world will also likely be impacted.

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Marco's picture

That's not a closed cycle ... you will still get soil depletion. If you want a closed cycle with natural fertilizers you need all the output from the asses fed by soil ... or in other words, we need to recycle our shit better (at the moment sewage is way too polluted to use for anything but poisoning soil).

Marco's picture

Oh sure, in the short term if the US is forced into trade balance status stuff like that will definitely become necessary as the price for imported fertilizer increases ... but peak phosphate is going to be a problem in the middle term already and has no such solutions.

We will need to start with efficient shit recycling within a few decades if we want to maintain current world populations.

augustus caesar's picture

Glad you brought up the topic of soil depletion Marco, this is an important point that our friend Hugo Scott-Gall did not touch upon. I suppose this is what happens when bean counters develop the necessary hubris to think that they are now bean growers as well. Part of the reason why our agricultural yields have been so high for so long here in the United States is that the North American continent was the most agriculturally virgin land in the world when Europeans landed upon its shores. We didn't even have earthworms here till they came over with the colonists.

onelight's picture

Humanure to the rescue??

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

I wouldn't recommend it. The amount of C. difficile coming out of humans now is epidemic. The spores are notoriously difficult to kill. Unless you can find a group of " clean" humans. C diff is the coming plague and hospitals are scrambling to find ways to deal with it. We use to panic when a patient got MRSA, this will be much worse.


Hulk's picture

Dear Miffed,

The composting process destroys every pathogen known to man. Been composting humanure

for about 5 years now with no problems. Can this spore survive 150 degrees for a day???

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Dear Hulk,

You may be right. There is so much conflicting recommendations regarding the distraction of these spores. Autoclaving works because we use the lack of growth of spores during the conclusion of autoclaving as proof of sterility. They know those alcohol wipes/ gels are ineffective and hand washing just reduces numbers but does not deactivate. I know I'm infected because I've worked with that organism for 30 years. They estimate at least 30%of healthcare workers are colonized. One reason I stay fit, healthy ,take probiotics and avoid fluoroquinalones like the plague. Guard your humanure and don't let anyone like me near it. I wouldn't take any happiness in being right!


Hulk's picture

Always looking for new info Miffed. One day there may indeed be something that makes it through the compost process, just like prions make it through cooking. But for now, I don't believe in putting this shit below ground, where it will contaminate our spring water. I try and stay with nature on this problem and keep it above ground. Working good so far and the sawdust toilet is a very cheap solution to a complex and expensive problem...

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Wise approach. We are currently on well water and have septic. Water in our area is primarily from rain water being trapped in rock shelves on our Mesa. Al least that's what the local well drillers tell me. In other words, very definitely finite and easily contaminated. Kid you not, about a mile away from us someone drilled their well right next to their leach lines. All of us locals had a good laugh at that. Their " leaving the city and experience country life" dream didn't end well. Country life certainly isn't for the dim witted... Well maybe unless you're rich enough to fix stupid.


tip e. canoe's picture

hey hulk, how long are you curing for?   what is your next step in the process after the toilet?   curious as to how you're getting high temps.   using a slightly different process here by inoculating with probiotics and introducing an anaerobic stage, then going aerobic, but currently concerned that temps are not getting high enough, especially after just reading about C.diff.

Hulk's picture

Hey Tip.e, we generally let these compost piles (formed by 1 inch hardware cloth made into a cylinder 4 feet in diameter)

for 6 months. We just empty the 5 gallon sawdust bucket into the compost pile and mix with equal parts green and brown.

On a 75 degree day, I have measured temps at 160 degrees, which compost purists view as too high, but thats what I get.

I don't do anything fancy, no turning , etc. Just a five foot high cyclinder, 4 feet in diameter of hardware cloth.

tip e. canoe's picture

cool, thanks amigo.  simple is as simple does, no?   got mine in a 55 gallon pickle barrel, it's black and in the sun so it should be getting hot enough.

augustus caesar's picture

Crop rotation does indeed help, but the damage caused by chemical fertilizers and pesticides is absolutely immense. At best it can only slow the rate of destruction as long as modern farming techniques are being practiced.

On the subject if one wishes to study the world's best example of crop rotation and sustainable farming look no further than the Native Americans.

Scientific studies on land used by certain Native American tribes for agriculture showed that the land was in fact more fertile after its use than even the surrounding untouched land.

BooMushroom's picture

The trick is designing a tractor that can harvest the three sisters, one at a time, without destroying the other two.

msmith9962's picture

I'm tinkering around with hugelkultur.  see link.  Anyone here tried it?

OpenThePodBayDoorHAL's picture

I thought rotting wood was a net user of nitrogen? That's why you don't use wood chips as mulch

krispkritter's picture

Yes it works and very well.  And it's true that initially it pulls nitrogen from the soil but usually in the first year or so and then it's net positive for nutrients rendered. The mass also holds moisture like a giant sponge and negates nearly any watering needs.  I grow blueberries and raspberries on some, melons on another, and herbs and the last.  Biggest problem so far is chickens pulling the soil off the top but some temporary fencing helped that.  My beds are 4-5' deep, 30' long, and about 8' wide but I have an excavator and lots of space. You can do hugelkultur on a much smaller scale and it still works effectively provided their is sufficient organic mass involved. I used dead pines, oaks, and leaves/grasses to get the most matter in the beds as possible. They shrink over time but the benefits last for quite a long time.

AgLand's picture

Food is part of the FEW, food-energy-water. You can do without that Black Friday scuffle at the mall for cheap Chinese trinkets, but you cannot survive without the FEW. And when Peak Cheap Oil hits in full force, 1) pricing will simply get passed along by the farm segment as 2) it is allocated that way because of the necessity of the FEW.

What will be of more concern is having your land close to water or rail transport as trucking grains long distance will become quite expensive.

LoneStarHog's picture

Ah! ... So ... Now it becomes perfectly clear ... Everything possible has been done to destroy the Family Farms, including proposed/passed legislation that makes it impossible to pass the farm to children ... Gee! ... Who will own all of these Agri-Dollar producing farms? (Rhetorical Question)'s picture



Everything possible has been done to destroy the Family Farms, including proposed/passed legislation that makes it impossible to pass the farm to children


Not doubting you, quite the contrary, but I'd love to see some documentation of that or at least the name of the law or terminology included so that I can look it up. In attempting to do so I found the following which looks like good news for PA farmers:


Monday, July 2, 2012

Pennsylvania eliminates tax on inheritance of family farms if law's conditions are met

Pennsylvania has eliminated the state tax on the inheritance of agricultural real estate provided certain conditions are met. Previously, agricultural real estate which passed to grown children and other non-spouse relatives was taxed at rates of 4.5% to 15%.

Money Squid's picture

I do not believe the state taxes are the problem, but the federal taxes. Most of the value of the farm or ranch is in the land, not cash. So if daddy Hoss leaves me his large ranch which is modestly profitable I will not be able to pay the inheritence tax and will have to sell the land to pay the tax. This forces the land out of the family into the market where large industrial farms/ranche businesses can scoop them up.

MachoMan's picture

This is largely a non-issue.  It's called rudimentary estate planning...  and farmers have enough money to not only need it, but to pay for it.  There are plans being made all day, every day for all types of family farms... 

Yes, if you just haphazardly live your life without a plan or care in the world, all the vultures will pick your carcass.  However, the people with enough intelligence to make it to the point where they actually have any semblance of decent farm acreage are typically bright enough to do a little planning in this regard...  find something else to worry about.'s picture

This is from LSH's link:


If you have a farm or a small business, would you like to pass it on to your children when you die?  Well, unless Congress does something, it is going to become much, much harder to do that starting next year.  Right now, there is a 5 million dollar estate tax exemption and anything above that is taxed at 35 percent.  But on January 1st, the exemption will go down to 1 million dollars and the tax rate will go up to 55 percent.


Sounds like an issue to me.

MachoMan's picture

This is patently ridiculous without actually discussing historical tax rates.

What do you think people did before the exemption was $5m?  Give me a break folks...  The sky isn't falling.

The other issue is that the author makes a blanket statement regarding the tax rate without actually discussing it in detail and supporting his thesis.  The trick here is the wording he utilizes, "much, much harder" does not entail impossible, it simply means that it will take more planning and cost more money to achieve.  This is pretty much a universal truth to all regulations regardless of the relationship to small farmers.

The reason many small farmers are being over-run is the same reason mom and pop shops on mainstreet were over-run, a complete and total failure to adapt to the ever-changing environment and/or the logical conclusion of operating a failed business model.  There will always be successful family farmers...  [it's also important to distinguish between "owning" the land and "farming" the land; there will always be a need for the latter, regardless of whether a giant corporation owns the land and the real value is in the skill of the farmer, not the ownership of the land].'s picture

I suppose that it would bee useless to point out that all taxation is theft.

MachoMan's picture

Not useless and certainly true, but completely irrelevant to the discussion...  unless you're planning on getting those repealed.  [I won't hold my breath].

The fact remains though, that the estate/gift tax is largely only for people who don't do estate planning...  it's for the folks who put their fingers in their ears and go lalalalalalala and then die.  Since the inception of estate tax, there have been tax professionals who seek to avoid it for clients...  the tax exemption/credit simply makes things easier because it doesn't actually require planning for the amount of the exemption... put on your tax avoidance hat and kick some ass.'s picture


The fact remains though, that the estate/gift tax is largely only for people who don't do estate planning...


Thanks for your reasonable response. Employing hired guns in order to protect yourself from tyrants is certainly a reasonable course of action. But I'll still bitch about the the tyranny in the meantime.


Not useless and certainly true, but completely irrelevant to the discussion...  unless you're planning on getting those repealed.  [I won't hold my breath].


I'm looking forward to the tax collecters repealing themselves. The beginning is nigh. When individuals have regained their sovereignty and deploy their own resources without impediment let no moochers or looters regain a foothold on your property.

Solarman's picture

Do you think Buffett is paying 55% on his billions?  They wrap these assets in trust, buy insurance, and other such tactics.'s picture

Thanks Hog and Squid. I suspected that the Feds were the problem.

Invisible Hand's picture

I think he was referring to the increased federal death taxes that are almost certainly coming.  State death taxes are an issue, but generally much less of one.

Federal death taxes (55% above $1M is expected) will make family farms (and family small businesses) almost impossible  to pass to the next generation. Incorporating won't help if the stock is closely held in the owner's name as the value of stock inherited is taxed.  This means that the heirs have to mortgage the farm or business to pay the tax.  The interest expense from the loan often takes the business from profitability to losses.  The only solution is to sell out or go out of business.

A large corporation has thousands or millions of owners and spreads out any inheritance taxes out over lots of people over many years.  Also, not an issue to the large corporation since it doesn't pay the inheritance tax, the owners do.

Corporate-socialists are in charge of both parties (especially our Fearless Leader).  They dislike small business because it is difficult to shake down.  You have to have 10,000 people at your cocktail party if each business has $1M gross per year versus 1 person running a $10B per year business.

It makes the bribe money so much easier to collect.

blunderdog's picture

Increasing the size of the businesses which perform *any* given role is a natural effect of capitalism.

Even WITHOUT regulatory capture, big farms drive small farms out of business, just as big box-stores drive small stores out of business.

The elegant symmetry is: because it's the big-money folks who control the electoral process through campaign financing, they wield influence with government agencies to make it even more difficult for the smaller entities to compete.

OpenThePodBayDoorHAL's picture

Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of the smaller ones. The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organised political society. This is true since the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, separate the electorate from the legislature. The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population. Moreover, under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights. (Albert Einstein, 1949)

falak pema's picture

Ah, now we talk true paradigm change; the age of plethora becomes age of scarcity.

Its not just food, its water and also peak energy at lo-cost hi-Eroei. China's biggest bottle neck could be water for agri revolution.

And the Achilles heel of north africa as asia hi-population countries.

So lets see this commodity game becoming the hi-stakes in Oligarchy rip-off.  

We continue in the Pax Americana construct to see how to organise the fight of maximising profit from scarcity; not for fighting to improve humanity's fate. Typical Oligarchy deady logic. 

Remember, amongst the first world countries USA and France are the biggest net producers of agri; along with Brazil in BRIC. 

dick cheneys ghost's picture

The Agri-dollar. Another tax on the worlds poorest people. And we wonder why they hate us.

kliguy38's picture

Let them eat cake should resonate once again for the proles

A Lunatic's picture

Let them eat each other.............

nmewn's picture

Friends, countrymen, lend them your ears! ;-)

hedgeless_horseman's picture



Practically speaking, it is much, much, easier to be self-sufficent when it comes to food than it is for energy.

oddjob's picture

But most gas stations are open all nite, grocery stores not so much.

Abitdodgie's picture

Good comment and you were brave enough not to use the " sarc" .

BurningFuld's picture

You used to be able to buy twinkies at gas stations... :(

Hulk's picture

But food is energy, its just a question of scale!!!

and speaking of food, after looking at your Thanksgiving pics, I ran into the kitchen and tried my hand at

making dinner rolls from scratch. It was a complete fucking disaster, even the Hens wouldn't eat the result, but it was instructional

and I'll try it again. I think my bread flour was too old...

hedgeless_horseman's picture



Having a "Bread-Proof" setting on your oven to raise the bread dough makes it much easier.  Otherwise, wrap it in towels and set it in a sunny and warm windowsill.

Ricky Bobby's picture

Good advice, and also find a good flour it does make a difference. I use  Hudson Cream Flour. Of course grinding your own is good too.

Abitdodgie's picture

This sound really gay but i would give my right nut to be able to bake bread , I just make hockey pucks, even Boris the bull will not eat them (don't blame him)