Increasing demand is outstripping world food production, despite increased yields due to technological progress. Combined with adverse weather and governmental policies, this has led to a major rundown of reserve grain stocks over the last few years. Without adequate reserves to provide equalization, weather must now be recognized as a critical factor in balancing the supply and demand of world food. Regardless of long term trends, such as the return of an Ice Age, unsettled weather conditions now appear more likely than those of the abnormally favorable period which ended in 1972. This possibility and its implications must be considered in planning and determining national and world food policies. There is an urgent need for better understanding and utilization of information on weather variability and climatic change in this context.

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Footnotes

1 This paper is based on talks given to the Northern California Chapter of the American Meteorological Society, and to sections of the World Affairs Council and the Common-wealth Club in San Francisco early in 1975.