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Food fight: Ranchers, farmers threatened

Frank Carroll
Published: Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

People have been mucking about with ways to improve crop yields in corn since corn first rose up as a force for civilization in Mesoamerica in 1000 BC.  Corn is the world’s most important crop in terms of harvest weight. Without landscapes of food, especially corn, we would not be the greatest nation ever to rise on the Earth.  
Until the fertilizer revolution just after World War II when munitions factories found ways to bind nitrogen in fertilizer to corn only certain plants like trees could use extra nitrogen left over from forest fires, for example.  Fertilizer allowed grain crops to spread more widely and farmers to grow more bushels per acre...way more.
Today we eat two ears for every 10 ears we grow. Over 25 percent of our food supply is corn-based.  The remaining eight are used in almost equal shares for animal feed (cows) and for ethanol (sugar fuel). And, from August 2011 to 2012, the U.S. biofuels industry used more corn for fuel than domestic farmers did for livestock feed.  Without massive government subsidies, we wouldn’t be burning corn at all.
We are burning our food crops in low grade gasoline. To make matters worse, we are now confronted with the unimaginable paradox of ethanol so cheap that we actually shipped 397 million gallons overseas last year. We are importing foreign oil and subsidizing the export of our own food supply as corn gas.  
Our new diet of fast food and fast fuel of substandard quality is impacting our bodies and our vehicles in ways we won’t know about for years, long after the corn pirates have retired to quiet lives in the Bahamas.

People have been mucking about with ways to improve crop yields in corn since corn first rose up as a force for civilization in Mesoamerica in 1000 BC.  Corn is the world’s most important crop in terms of harvest weight. Without landscapes of food, especially corn, we would not be the greatest nation ever to rise on the Earth.  

Until the fertilizer revolution just after World War II when munitions factories found ways to bind nitrogen in fertilizer to corn only certain plants like trees could use extra nitrogen left over from forest fires, for example.  Fertilizer allowed grain crops to spread more widely and farmers to grow more bushels per acre...way more.

Today we eat two ears for every 10 ears we grow. Over 25 percent of our food supply is corn-based.  The remaining eight are used in almost equal shares for animal feed (cows) and for ethanol (sugar fuel). And, from August 2011 to 2012, the U.S. biofuels industry used more corn for fuel than domestic farmers did for livestock feed.  Without massive government subsidies, we wouldn’t be burning corn at all.

We are burning our food crops in low grade gasoline. To make matters worse, we are now confronted with the unimaginable paradox of ethanol so cheap that we actually shipped 397 million gallons overseas last year. We are importing foreign oil and subsidizing the export of our own food supply as corn gas.  

Our new diet of fast food and fast fuel of substandard quality is impacting our bodies and our vehicles in ways we won’t know about for years, long after the corn pirates have retired to quiet lives in the Bahamas.

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