People Should Be Paying Attention

Troubling report appeared with the online AP news in an article entitled “California drought stings bees, honey supplies” by Terence Chea (8-21-14). Some lines of note:
“The historic drought, now in its third year, is reducing supplies of California honey, raising prices for consumers and making it harder for beekeepers to earn a living.”
“Since the drought began, California’s honey crop has fallen sharply from 27.5 million pounds in 2010 to 10.9 million pounds last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And this year’s crop is expected to be even worse. California was the country’s leading honey producer as recently as 2003, but it has since been surpassed by North Dakota, Montana, South Dakota and Florida. In 2013, California produced less than 10 percent of the country’s $317 million honey crop.”
“Besides selling honey, beekeepers earn their living from pollinating crops such as almonds, cotton, alfalfa and melons. But farmers are renting fewer hives because the lack of irrigation water has forced them to tear out orchards and leave fields unplanted. Like many beekeepers, Brandi is feeding his bees a lot more sugar syrup than usual to compensate for the lack of nectar. The supplemental feed keeps the bees alive, but it’s expensive and doesn’t produce honey. “Not only are you feeding as an expense, but you aren’t gaining any income.” said Brandi’s son Mike, who’s also a beekeeper. “If this would persist, you’d see higher food costs, higher pollination fees and unfortunately higher prices for the commodity of honey.””
“Spencer Marshall, who maintains hives throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, said this is by far the worst year for honey production he’s seen in five decades of beekeeping. When the drought ends, “the bees may come back, but the beekeepers may not,” Marshall said.”
The article ends with Napa Valley restaurant and floral business owner Amelia Barad-Humphries: “”We need honeybees for everything,” she said. “People should be paying attention.””

Analysis reads this while also bearing in mind the drumbeat of current economic news. The FED, soon to meet in tony Jackson Hole Wyoming, is concerned that wages in the past year have not risen at all. Keep interest rates at zero (a move originally meant to spur job growth)? The latest jobless report shows fewer unemployed last month. People are going back to work? All three segments of the American stock market (DOW, NASDAQ, S&P) have more than doubled in the five years since the recession officially ended, and continue to rise. The economy is good? One in seven people in the US rely on some kind of food assistance to get by. A lot of working people can’t afford to eat since the unemployment rate is at around 6% while that of those needing food assistance is over 14%? So, let’s reconsider this. Working people can’t afford to work and eat. Wages are not rising. Food prices will be going up. The economy is good and looking to be better.

People should be paying attention

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