More than 60 percent of the United States now has abnormally dry or drought conditions, stretching from Georgia to Arizona and across the north through the Dakotas, Minnesota, Montana and Wisconsin, according to Mark Svoboda, a climatologist for the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.
An area stretching from south central North Dakota to central South Dakota is the most drought-stricken region in the nation. Fields of wheat, durum and barley in the Dakotas this dry summer will never end up as pasta, bread or beer. America’s “Bread Basket” is drying up and her farmland is cracking under the two-fold forces of drought and 100-degree heat. So as the Constitution holds Black men and women as three-fiffths of a human, this drought is scorching three-fifths of the land.
Brad Rippey, a federal Agriculture Department meteorologist in Washington, said this year’s drought is continuing one that started in the late 1990s. “The 1999 to 2006 drought ranks only behind the 1930s and the 1950s. It’s the third-worst drought on record–period,” Mr. Rippey said.
According to the Agriculture Department, the hardest hit state, North Dakota led the nation last year in production of 15 different commodity classes, including spring wheat, durum wheat, barley, oats, canola, pinto beans, dry edible peas, lentils, flaxseed, sunflower and honey. While many of us might not be able to find North Dakota on a map, her demise may force fat America to replace the calls of “super-size me” and “where’s the beef” to “where’s the bread and beans.”
In the past, America has used her great agricultural wealth for less than humanitarian ends. The Public Law 480 (PL 480) program, which was presented to the world as an altruistic giveaway program to supply needed grains to the Third World, was in fact an economic weapon used to destroy foreign economies. The U.S. government passed the law in 1954 to get rid of agricultural surpluses and serve American foreign interests. If a country faced famine, America would send food if that country aligned itself with America instead of Russia.
However, the timing of the PL 480 shipments could be devastating to the future of a country’s local growers. America would send free food while local farmers were trying to sell their meager harvest to consumers in the big cities. Eventually, these small farmers went out of business and joined the jobless hoards in the big cities of the Third World.
This present great drought may permanently eliminate those surpluses, and run the last American family farmers to the cities awaiting ships from Brazil to bring them grain for their
”daily bread.” The wealthier American farmers have already left the “Bread Basket” with the help of the American government and agricultural supply firms that sell farm production inputs cheaper in South America. The United States is fast becoming a “Third World” country, importing manufactured goods from China and now food from South America.
On May 3, 2004, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan warned President George Bush to pull out of Iraq or suffer the consequences. He warned all of us to watch the weather. In short order, an unprecedented number of major hurricanes struck the shores of America. Five hit in 2004: Alex, Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jean. The tracts of those hurricanes can be viewed in our article, “The Hand of God: Hurricanes and Mighty Snow” at www.Muhammadfarms.com.
Evidently Pres. Bush did not regard this unusual weather as any type of sign or indication that he should pull out of Iraq. Instead, he began to beat the war drums towards Syria and Iran. Then, Hurricane Katrina hit in August 2005. The devastation was unprecedented and the level of disaster preparedness and response was abysmal. Yet, Pres. Bush has “stayed the course.”
Minister Farrakhan has likened Pres. Bush to Pharaoh in the Bible. The Pharaoh that confronted the Biblical Moses was struck by 10 plagues and yet he “stayed the course.” Pharaoh unexplainably sent his army into the Red Sea, running after Moses and his “rod,” after personally witnessing the power of that “rod.”
And here we are in 2006 and the insurance companies and U.S. Treasury are still reeling behind the losses of Hurricane Katrina last year and now both are faced with the worse drought since the 1930s and ‘50s.
During this year’s visit to the Navajo land July 17-19 as part of Minister Farrakhan’s delegation, as I drove through a desert that was once farmland, I wondered what happened to the water. Since 1965, the Peabody Energy Corp has operated a coal strip-mining operation in the Black Mesa plateau on Navajo land. In 1974, Senator Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.), backed by a number of energy companies, pushed through the Navajo-Hopi Land Settlement Act, which expanded the reach of Peabody Energy by running the Navajo and Hopi people off their land.
Until this year, Peabody Energy has been extracting over 3.3 million gallons of pristine, potable water from the region’s sole-source aquifer every day to slurry coal 273 miles to Laughlin, Nevada to the Mohave electric generation plant. As a result, the local springs and streams have dried up and the water level has decreased by as much as 100 feet.
According to the Weather Channel, in recent weeks it has rained in Arizona almost every day while America’s agricultural heartland is drying up. Pres. Bush not only ignores scriptural prophecies, he continues to deny the research findings of America’s scientists. He has stated that he does not believe in global warming, even though the average world temperature is creeping up each year, oceans are rising and America is being scorched by 100-degree-plus weather.
Will Black America go down with the modern Pharaoh? The Honorable Elijah Muhammad and now Minister Farrakhan have warned Black people to “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and ye receive not of her plagues.” Could it be that Black America would rather eat itself sick in its enemy’s kitchen and burn in a “house on fire” than accept that it made a mistake by rejecting the calls for separation from the Honorable Elijah Muhammad? Is pride better than life?
Will Black people fall through the cracks as America’s ground bakes in the oven of retribution?
(Dr. Ridgely Muhammad is the Minister of Agriculture and manager of Muhammad Farms. Visit www.muhammadfarms.com for more information.)