Part of the roots of Middle East turmoil is that many of those regions are losing their ag productive capacity, often because of water shortages. Centuries-old irrigation systems have deteriorated, conflict has imposed massive waste of water, and focus on monocultures has raised water needs.
Saudi Arabian investors are buying farmland in the American Southwest to assure forage crops for their domestic dairy herds, indicates a report by Jeff Daniels of CNBC.
Last fall, Bloomberg published a story and charts showing that Saudi irrigation wells are running dry, forcing a phasedown in domestic wheat production. This year, Saudi Arabia will import about 3.5 million metric tons of wheat. In the 1990s, pivot irrigation systems across the desert helped produce enough wheat to feed Saudi Arabia and five neighboring nations.