9/9 – After years of abundant grain and protein supplies (and modest prices) the cycle appears to be turning. For starters, the USDA has absolutely no handle on the real damage to this year’s corn and soybean crops. There are large variances between government and private estimates - and the argument will not likely be settled until this year’s harvest is in. In proteins, African Swine Fever will wipe out a third (or more) of China’s pork production, which equates to somewhere between 6 and 9% of all world meat and poultry supplies. Pork, beef and poultry producers globally will be scrambling to fill China’s needs. In dairy, U.S. cow herd numbers are steadily declining, milk output in 2019 will be barely above 2018, and 2019 block cheese prices will average nearly 10% above a year ago. It’s likely that food cost increases in 2020 and 2021 will far exceed the pace of the past 10 years.