While nothing new to Zero Hedge readers, the realization that everyone's purchasing power is about to be yanked from underneath them has gone mainstream. Omaha.com has just come out with a headline that leaves little to the imagination: "Get ready for higher food prices." The issue is that no matter how Chairsatan Rudolf Vissarionovich von Bernankestein spins this to whatever congressional minions he is supposed to be lying to at any given moment, the undisputed truth is that consumers have just gotten that much poorer, as prices of staples surge, and as a result capital available for discretionary trinkets plunges (here's looking at you Guitar Hero which has just been discontinued due to lack of interest... Coming to an Apple store near you in 3-5 years). Because no matter what economic voodoo Bernanke, concocts there is little he can do to change the laws of mathematics. So for those who wish to stock up on staples in advance of a price surge (thereby bringing the price jump forward), and still haven't done so, here is the "mainstream" explanation for why now is a very good time to start doing so.
Shoppers could see higher grocery bills as early as three months from now, though most of the impact won't be felt for another six months, said Scott Irwin, an agricultural economics professor at the University of Illinois.
Chicken prices are among the first to rise because the bird's life span is so short that higher feed costs get factored in quickly, he said. Price hikes for hogs take about a year and cattle two years. Prices on packaged foods take six or seven months to rise.
Tyson Foods, the nation's biggest meat company, said chicken, beef and pork prices are expect to rise this year, if only slightly, as producers seek to cover costs.
ConAgra Foods Inc. — the Omaha-based producer of brands including Healthy Choice, Banquet and Chef Boyardee — is raising prices on some of its products because of higher costs for corn and fuel, said Teresa Paulsen, a spokeswoman.
The price rally has bolstered the financial fitness of America's crop and livestock operators over the past eight months. Midwestern cropland is yielding record values. Rural banks and equipment makers report record profits.
“We're seeing record income levels for the ag community and ... wealth accumulation that cannot be denied,” said Bruce Johnson, an agricultural economist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “We've moved into a whole new level.”
Said Bruce Babcock, an agricultural economist at Iowa State University: “Farmers are going to be earning quite a bit more money.”
Jason Henderson, Omaha branch executive for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, said farmers are buying more tractors, pickup trucks, grain bins and land.
“And they also come to Omaha to shop and go to events,” he said.
But it hasn't been simply a spending spree, Henderson said. Farmers are paying down debt and fewer are seeking loan renewals or extensions.
“It's a good time to be an ag banker,” said Brian Esch, president of McCook National Bank in southwest Nebraska. “But I have concerns over what this means for consumers. If one guy is selling at a record profit, someone is buying at a record level.”
The only benefit: very soon farmers, least they produce something, will be making more than bankers. Which of course means that Wall Street will promptly vacate the skyscrapered corridors of the financial district and start pushing bales of straw for a living. Just as Marc Rogers has been predicting for over a year now.
The agricultural economies of Nebraska and Iowa will continue to grow into greater prominence as global food providers, economists said.
Johnson said rising population numbers globally and greater demand in major developing countries for higher-protein diets have strengthened the Midlands' agricultural market.
Farm cash receipts — led by corn and other crops — doubled in Nebraska from 2000 through 2010. Crop receipts alone ended the decade in the $9 billion range, up from a 2000 total of $3 billion.
Will Ben Bernanke's disastrous monetary policy be the greatest thing to happen to America's labor reallocation since Blythe Masters discovered CDS?