10,000 Head of Cattle Killed in Kansas as US Faces Skyrocketing Prices, Potential Food Shortages
If you thought the summer of 2022 couldn’t get any worse for the country, a story of the sudden deaths of thousands of cows in Kansas is ready to ramp up our trouble quotient.
An estimated 10,000 fat cattle died as temperatures in the state soared past 100 degrees with 18 to 35 percent humidity on Monday, according to a report by Progressive Farmer magazine.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment spokesman Matthew Lara confirmed the deaths of at least 2,000 head of cattle that succumbed to the heat and humidity on Tuesday, according to Reuters.
The calculation is based on the number of carcasses the agency has been asked to help dispose of, Reuters reported.
“It was essentially a perfect storm,” A.J. Tarpoff said, a beef extension veterinarian for Kansas State University, told Progressive Farmer senior editor Victoria G. Myers.
Thousands of cattle suddenly died last weekend in Kansas. The reason given – high temperatures. pic.twitter.com/Gd0I5k5eRP
— James Melville (@JamesMelville) June 15, 2022
Brenda Masek, president of the industry association Nebraska Cattlemen, said the temperatures mean that cattlemen need to be very close to their herds, according to Reuters.
“You can’t say, ‘Oh I checked them three days ago.’ When it gets hot, you’ve got be to out every day and making sure that their water is maintained,” Masek said.
This mass cattle die-off comes on the heels of prices that are already soaring.
Fox News reported in May that poultry, fish and meat prices had increased 13.8 percent this year.
Dead cows are not the only problem befalling the food chain lately. In May, a major chicken producer was forced to recall more than half a million pounds of pre-cooked chicken products.
The recall was originally issued for 30,000 pounds on April 29. However, it was reissued and expanded to 585,030 pounds.
There have also been an alarming number of fires, explosions and general destruction of food plants across the nation.
At the end of May, a chicken plant in northwest Arkansas went up in smoke, killing thousands of chickens. But the Arkansas blaze only added to the list of a growing number of facilities being destroyed just when the loss of these farms, plants and the like are most missed.
At a time when the United States food chain is already under serious stress, these mounting disasters are putting pressure on the economy, our food prices and potentially even our health.
Meanwhile, global events like the Russian invasion of Ukraine — a major source of world’s wheat — and sanctions against Russia, another major wheat producer — have raised the specter of food shortages around the world, as even President Joe Biden has acknowledged.
Regardless of whether food production setbacks are caused by nefarious human action, unfortunate natural elements, or simply a chain of unrelated accidents, this all could not be coming at a worse time.
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