USDA site now includes odd disclaimer - part II : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

At the USDA site,, click on the Case Study 2 tag and you will get an odd disclaimer, then this bombshell:

How are you preparing your family for the Year 2000...?

"R.U. Ready" is a pseudonym for a real farmer who manages a 3,000-acre grain operation. In this series from @gInnovator, he outlines his outlook and preparations for the Year 2000 problem. In part one, he spells out preparations for inputs, equipment, and financial needs. In part two (below), he explains personal and family preparations. Whether you agree or disagree with his outlook and approach, you need to address the same questions. Preparation prevents panic!

Previous installment: Case study: A farmer prepares for the Year 2000

(Part II) Case study: A farm family prepares for Y2K

"Preparation prevents panic"

Part one of Case study: a farmer prepares for Year 2000 reviewed preparations for the business side of the "R.U. Ready" family. This is a pseudonym for an actual farm family with four school-age children. The family is part of a large diversified extended family enterprise with more than 4,000 acres spread out over two geographically diverse locations, one concentrated on 3,000 acres of crop production, the other on crops and livestock. Each main location lies within an hour on either side of a smaller major Midwestern city.

In part two of this series, we'll look at personal and family preparations being made by the R.U. Ready family.

"First, you need to do some research and understand the problem and its implications. Then you can determine how you should respond and develop a game plan,"stresses R.U. Ready. "And you need to develop a budget. There are many issues to consider, and it adds up fast."

You can run out of money before you've filled all your potential wants and needs. Look at things realistically and develop priorities. Making a flow chart of your expectations can help you determine how to prepare, he points out. (See bottom of page)

R.U. Ready says it took him over a year to settle on just what situation he would prepare for. While he still continues to research Y2K developments, he doesn't expect to depart from his basic objective. "We don't want to have to buy anything at all for living for at least the first six months of 2000. If major problems don't materialize, all we've done is store up a lot of supplies that we can then use up," he explains.

The 2000 part of the problem starts in January, he reminds, so the first priority is to get through the winter (which means cold weather and snow where the R.U. Ready family lives). Food, water and shelter will be the basic needs.

Some of the literature on his desk provides the following list of considerati o ns to get through the Y2K problem: community, debt-free place to live in country on hour from any major city, water supply (with purifying system), food (one year for each person), protection, money (at least 6-months cash needs in small bills, plus gold and silver coins).

Here's how the R.U. Ready family has prepared:

Community: The R.U. Ready family lives less than an hour from a smaller but major Midwestern city, and less than a quarter hour from their county seat, so they are preparing to be more self-sufficient. They know very few people in the area who are preparing like they are--but expect to discover more in coming months.

With a little preparation, most farmers should be able to get through the winter, he points out. "Hopefully, small towns will pull together and help their neighbors. They could still face hard challenges in terms of the infrastructure--erratic power, communications, and transportation, for example." This can impact food and water supplies. There are even bigger worries about bigger cities, he adds, and members of his extended family are moving out of urban areas this year.

Shelter: The R.U. Ready family remodeled their farmhouse last year, adding a storm cellar, water treatment system, a new LP furnace, an inverter system and bank of deep cycle batteries to store electricity generated by a diesel generator. He'll also have a ventless propane heater in the basement to keep pipes from freezing.

Food: "We've ordered long term food, storage items and other supplies. We have enough to last our family of four for a year, plus extra to give away or trade to other people." Much of that was ordered in February and was only recently delivered--due to increasing demand, he notes.

Food stocks include grains, beans, rice, dry milk, and oils. Most of this was delivered in sealed plastic 5-gallon pails. R.U. Ready plans to further supplement these stored supplies with produce from their garden next year. They al so have a hand-powered grinder mill. "We have neighbors with chickens and milk cows so hope to trade locally for fresh food items," he adds. "And we've looked into raising rabbits.

"Our philosophy on food supplies is not entirely year 2000 motivated, since we would like to live more independently anyway," says R.U. Ready. They're not holdovers from the 'hippie back to nature movement,' but they do want their family (with four school-age children) eating wholesome food, and they like the idea of being more self-sufficient, he adds.

Other supplies: "Basically we've looked at every aspect of our lives and determined what extra supplies we will need," he points out. They are changing many light bulbs to fluorescent, to use less energy. They'll add some 12-volt DC lighting circuits to utilize power directly from the batteries. They will have Aladdin-type oil lamps. They're considering replacing any appliances that aren't energy efficient, or converting to LP. They have a wringer-type washing machine.

"We're stocking up medical supplies, adequate clothing for family, non-hybrid garden seed, and so on," adds R.U. Ready. What about their computer system? "We bought a new computer earlier this year, and it is year-2000 compliant. We will make sure all of our software is also. And of course we're making hard copy printouts of all of our financial records and putting that and other important papers in the safe."

Protection: "I have bought a couple more guns, and quite a bit of ammunition. I expect to do more hunting. And I hope all this is more valuable for barter than for defense!" says R.U. Ready. "But I will defend my family from life-threatening intruders--Y2K or not."

When looking at the 'big picture' he also considers the possibilities of martial law in 1999--including the confiscation of fuel and other supplies. "I hope that doesn't happen. But if the government does continue to function through the Y2K situation, and actually increases i ts co ntrol of people's lives, I am fearful that we could lose so much freedom that it is incomprehensible to us now what is at stake," he relates. "But I also think that if the whole computer system does go down, along with the government infrastructure, it may give us an opportunity to rebuild with more freedom and Christian principles. Sadly, I think it will have to be done individually, as I don't see the organized church stepping up to the plate and filling this vacuum."

Money: "I have also already cashed in some IRA's to buy gold and silver, and have some cash on hand too. A lot depends on the impact to our economy--but long term these should be good investment moves anyway," he projects. "It's basically a strategy of risk management. My goal is that by March of 1999 to have basically all of our liquid assets (which is basically everything we own) into cash, gold, silver, ammo, food, and other supplies. Again, we don't want to have to buy anything for at least the first six months of 2000."

The big question: "People ask me 'how bad will it be in 2000?' and my answer is 'tell me how long the power will be off'," relates R.U. Ready. "Even if 'everything else' as far as computers and chips and systems are fixed, nothing will be 'fixed' if we have no power."

R.U. Ready continues to monitor reports about the state of the nation's power grid. And he's called and written to his own local power company. The response: 'we're doing everything we can but we recommend you have your own generator.' "That's not very reassuring," he notes, "and there's a lot of doubletalk in the official communications from many industries. If they really are ready, why can't they just tell us plainly?" he asks.

"So, we expect outages to be inevitable. Even if the electricity is not completely off, it will be erratic enough that we will need our own electrical generator. This is something the farm needs anyway--and anyone without a generator the past couple of winters in much of the Midwest was probably convinced to get one," he relates. With the weather cycle expected to turn more erratic due to increased sunspot activity, it just makes sense to be prepared in this way, he adds.

"Even our local bank is buying a generator--ostensibly just to be prepared for normal winter power outages. But unlike most banks, they've been working on the Year 2000 problem for the past 5 years. They claim they will be ready--but who knows about the rest of the global financial system?" asks R.U. Ready.

Non-material preparations: Some of the other literature on his desk advocates preparation along the lines of "God, groceries, guns, and gold." The R.U. Ready family readily acknowledges their "complete trust in God" regardless of Y2K concerns. But they also believe that trust should include their own preparations, based on how they understand the issues.

"Some might accuse people like me of contributing to the problem, but I don't see it that way. I'm simply taking steps to provide for my family and my business based on how I weigh the evidence," stresses R.U. Ready. "It's a matter of risk management."

"We are not hoarding. Hoarding means there is a limited supply, and that is not the case today. We are simply preparing and stockpiling for our needs," he explains. "If things do get in short supply, we won't be standing in lines. If there are runs on the banks or grocery stores--those are the people contributing to the runs! Very few people will take the steps we are taking, so we don't feel we will be causing any problems for others."

Will they share what we have? "We are Christians, so of course we will. But should I be forced by the unprepared to enter into a suicide pact with my family--by giving away all of our preparations?" asks R.U. Ready. "We prepared for potential problems and you did not. We will help you, but how can you depend on us simply because you did not plan and prepare?"

R.U. Ready looks at Y2K as a matter of risk management and stewardship. "We believe 'God owns it all' anyway--so even though we are taking steps to prepare for possible problems, there is a big trust factor," points out R.U. Ready. "We're not trusting in all the plans of mice and men. We are not masters of our own fate. But not to prepare would be foolish. And there's still plenty of things left for God to show us, right?"

Other concerns: Is this whole Y2K scenario a self-fulfilling prophecy? Will problems come because too many people panic--and end up causing more problems?

R.U. Ready believes that fundamental flaws in the foundations of modern society are surfacing as part of Year 2000 concerns. He's no Luddite (anti-technology fanatic), but he points to underlying issues such as fractional reserve banking, a debt-based economy, and blind acceptance of modern technologies. These contribute to problems related to a total reliance on improperly programmed computer systems. They may fail together, he says. And he points to widespread denial of such problems as further evidence. The problems can come about whether most people recognize them or not, he notes. Some will see them before others, and take action.

"If we stand in line asking for money or food then we would be contributing to the problem," he points out. "There's only one place to be in a bank run or food line and that is at the very front of the line--long before the line even forms. I can do much more for my community if I'm not standing in a line."

Were farmers that had money in the 1930s at fault because other people didn't see the problems coming? asks R.U. Ready. "Of course not. It could have gone the other way. They were taking a risk with their decisions and it turned out in their favor. They were in a position to help rebuild the economy and society."

The R.U. Ready family has studied the issues, drawn their flow charts, developed their priorities, made a budget, and mapped out their strategies for risk management. They believe good stewardship involves planning and preparing. That's how they approach their farming practices, their family life, and potential problems such as Y2K concerns. They work on the means, but trust in God to determine the end.

"Hopefully, with the way we are approaching this we won't have many downsides if the Year 2000 is not a big problem--and in fact, we sincerely hope that what we've prepared for doesn't happen," concludes R.U. Ready.

Time will tell if their risk management strategies are right or wrong. You may know in less than 500 days

(From Part 1) -- As part of his planning and communicating with other family members, R.U. Ready developed the accompanying flow chart which illustrates his approach to the problem:

First question: Is Y2K a problem? Options: No (but why are firms spending millions to correct a scam?) Yes (but will it be fixed in time)

-If yes, then there's no problem to prepare for.

-If not, then you can either do nothing or take action.

This depends on your answer to this question: will the power go out?

-If yes, then, can you survive without power?

--if yes, then there's no problem to prepare for

--if no, then you'll need food, heat, water, etc. If the answer to will the power go out is no, but there will be some problems, then you need to answer more questions regarding food, fuel, communications, farm vendors, packing plants and processors etc.

For more information on agriculture and Y2K, see USDA Food Supply Working Group at


Paul & Flint?

-- a (a@a.a), February 05, 1999


a, the disclaimer looks pretty standard. When it's possible to sue over spilling a cup of hot coffee, you have to cover all possible bases.

-- Old Git (, February 06, 1999.

I read the story from that farmer a few weeks ago.. I think it is "interesting" that they have it there. Y2K gets weirder every day, doesnt it? Thanks for the post.

-- me (, February 06, 1999.

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