Cornfields in Iowa

My brother got his graduate and masters degrees from the University of Iowa so I had the fortune at 17 of seeing what a cool place Iowa City was. Nice people, a lot of drunk college girls on friday nights (my favorite part), and a beautiful campus and downtown area. I even got into the 21 and over pool hall, which trust me, was a much bigger deal when you’re a baby faced junior in high school.

Believe it or not my brother and his (now) wife did venture out of Iowa City for portions of my week. I have never seen so much corn in my entire life. There were pretty much two roads in and out of the city, the one the went eas-west, and the other went north-south. And remember, this is Iowa. There aren’t exactly rolling hills and if there are, there rolling up or down to show your how much more freaking corn they have. I asked my brother, “is all of this corn?” “Yea,” he shrugged,”except for the huge fields of green you see, those are soybeans. They replenish the soil so you can grow more corn.” We must have drove 20 miles in any direction to get to the another town and it was ALL corn.

Now, I like corn. And sweet corn don’t even get me started. Especially with just a little butter and pepper. But seriously, can’t we just lay of the maize? Only 16% of the corn grown in the US goes to ethanol so what else are we using it for? Apparently we are making just about all of our’s, and our livestock’s food with it. Of the 37 ingredients (yes, 37) in the chicken McNugget, 30 of them come from corn.

I just find it amazing to think we have these enormous plains that used to be in the center of our country and have them not be devoted to grass-fed animals and maybe even the production of something other than corn. Based on world averages, the US produces 42% of the WOLRD’S corn.

The American government pays farmers like those in Iowa $19 billion per year to overproduce corn. $4 billion comes from taxpayers. We are also producing 10 billion bushels per year as opposed to 4 billion in 1970. Couldn’t these farmers grow anything else instead of corn. I know corn is very useful, but so are many other fruits and vegetables which could stop all of this waste and spending.

A possible solution: sustainable agriculture. Stay tuned…

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