Kentucky officials confident state can combat possible wheat shortage

Skyrocketing inflation is causing problems for local wheat farmers.
Skyrocketing inflation is causing problems for local wheat farmers.
Published: May. 26, 2022 at 7:08 PM EDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - The Russian invasion into Ukraine has caused many economic problems across the world. Between sanctions, land destruction and export blockades, American officials worry many goods could be scarce.

One of those products is wheat -- the Observatory of Economic Complexity ranks Ukraine as the fifth largest wheat exporter in the world. Now that United Nations officials are reporting Russian forces are blocking those exports, the world could suffer the consequences.

“The food supply for millions of Ukrainians and millions more around the world has quite literally been held hostage,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

It is not just an international issue, but local as well. Gas prices are the obvious target, but any grain has become difficult to buy.

“For most of the individuals that are full-time farmers, the input costs have skyrocketed last year and projections are they are gonna skyrocket again next year,” Director of Grain and Forage Center of Excellence Chad Lee said.

Governor Andy Beshear proposed a possible solution -- farmers in the Bluegrass State producing wheat themselves.

“I think you’re gonna see a lot of western Kentucky and other farmers switching to wheat. The price is still going to be really high. I think you’re gonna see how well the United States can grow food for the entire world,” he said.

That could potentially lead to a positive effect beyond the state.

“I think that could potentially cause ripples all throughout the globe,” Chad Lee said.

Considering the economic toll the war has had around the world, a perfect solution could be farfetched. With that said, American farmers could once again be a saving grace to food scarcity.

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