Lend Me Your Ear
Hey, I see you sitting there, looking a little bit lumpy, a little bit of a jaundiced hue. You’re sitting there looking all “sweet”, but I know deep down, you’re just about ready to POP! You know how I know? Because...you’re… corn. “What?” you say, “I’m not corn, I’m a person!” ah-ah-ah, you see, I am a firm believer that you are what you eat; and I’m fairly convinced that you, myself, and everyone else in America, eats corn.
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About three years ago I was watching an episode of the Colbert Report in which he pointed out our nation’s insane dependence on corn. It made me realize just how unaware of corn we ...view middle of the document...
The fact that corn is so important to the modern world is highlighted by the fact that 622,845 square miles of corn were planted in 2008 worldwide. To put that in perspective, it is roughly the area of Alaska, or 8 Kansas’s… in corn The largest national producer of corn in the world, you can be proud to know, is the United States of America, where According to the USDA's Annual Crop Production report, or 136,562 square miles of land were planted to corn in 2012, equating the size of Montana. The majority of the crop grown in the Corn Belt. In case you ever wondered where exactly the “Corn belt” was, it is located in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Kansas, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and parts of Missouri.
The Corn Supremacy
Of course the laws of supply and demand state that the demand actually has to be there if we’re going to create such a huge supply. As such, all of this corn growth has created a societal addiction to the grain, a Corn Supremacy, if you will.
Where does all this corn go?. The usual suspects come to mind, Livestock feed and the like, which accounts for 47% of the US’s corn usage, according the USDA’s grain report in 2011, the largest chunk of our harvest. A surprising amount of our harvest, 25%, went to the production of Ethanol, which I’ll save for another Informative. Another 12% of our corn was exported. The last 15% of corn went to “Non-ethanol products”. This is, of course, the bureaucratic term for “everything”. Yes, I mean “everything”.
Of course you know that corn is in a heck of a lot, if you’ve ever looked at the back of any processed food, you’ve probably seen “high fructose corn syrup. The average American consumed approximately 37.8 pounds of High Fructose Corn Syrup in 2008 according to the USDA’s “food per capita report”. Corn Syrup is in just about anything you can find, candy, preserves, crackers, cereal, butter, juices, sodas, canned meats, fast food, et cetera. Further in the category of food, corn is the main food for chickens, turkeys, and cows, meaning that the majority of our meat is just a corn bi-product.
However, our addiction to corn is not constrained to food stuffs. According to Agriculture dot com, corn is in some things you might not expect: porcelain, paper and cardboard, drywall, varnish, paint, glue, toothpaste, tires, leather and wax. Not only is it in these items, but it is also a major ingredient in plastic, so anything plastic you can find probably has corn in it.
In spite of this Addiction, don’t worry, we’ll be...