This summer’s drought has been the worst in decades, affecting more than 58% of the US and taking a major toll on factory farms. The price of feed-crops has increased as much as 60%, and many farmers can’t afford to feed all their animals. While one farmer thinks he’s clever by gorging his cows on unsellable candy and ethanol by-products, most producers are selling off their herds and flocks to slaughter—in fact, the US herd has reportedly shrunk to its smallest since 1973.
Worse, this is a global problem. In a startling new report, Sweden’s water scientists stated: “With 70% of all available water being in agriculture…There will not be enough water available on current croplands to produce food for the expected 9 billion population in 2050 if we follow current trends and changes towards diets common in western nations.” Translation? Humans will need to switch to a mostly vegetarian diet by 2050 to avoid catastrophic global food and water shortages.
Economists are already estimating that next year we’ll see a 4% rise in dairy prices and an 8% rise in beef, pork, and chicken. Meanwhile, global food prices are expected to increase by 14%. However, because mono-culture feed-crops are the major supply to be hit, the drought isn’t expected to affect plant foods grown for human consumption. That means that consumers will perhaps purchase more affordable (and compassionate) plant-based foods!
For now, the drought continues and the USDA has distributed nearly $30 million for relief efforts to producers in 22 states, including opening up acres of delicate wildlife habitats for haying, grazing, and watering. This is in addition to the massive $30 billion in subsidies that factory farms already receive from the government each year.
Is there an easier, more effective solution? Fortunately, yes! We can save money, water, and animals by simply choosing vegetarian foods.