(Posted Tue. May 20th, 2014)
Our nation’s corn growers are sustainably producing corn to meet all needs for food and fuel, National Corn Growers Association First Vice President Chip Bowling told members of the Energy Future Coalition at a meeting this week.
Bowling, a Maryland farmer, documented for the group not only how much corn yield, or production per acre, has increased over time, but how some of today’s growers are more than doubling the U.S. average yield.
“Each year, NCGA holds a national corn yield contest where growers can compete with their peers. The contest has different categories that reflect some of the different planting scenarios, but what is remarkable is that the average for national winners is more than 350 bushels per acre,” he noted, comparing that with the average yield nationwide of 158.8 bushels per acre in 2013. “In fact, five farmers reached 400 or more bushels an acre. We’re seeing tomorrow’s yields today.”
What this means, he added, is that farmers are growing more corn using fewer inputs and impacts per bushel. Citing figures from the Field to Market program, Bowling said that, between 1980 and 2011, corn improved on all measures of resource efficiency, decreasing per bushel: land use by 30 percent, soil erosion by 67 percent, irrigation by 53 percent, energy use by 43 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by 36 percent.
“Some people like to portray corn ethanol as pitting ‘food versus fuel,’ but that false choice does not match reality, especially at a time when food inflation is under control,” Bowling said. “Farmers are growing enough corn not only for all needs, but to ensure we carry over grain into the next year. Corn growing in the 21st century is a real American success story to celebrate.”
The Energy Future Coalition is a broad-based, non-partisan alliance that seeks to bridge the differences among business, labor, and environmental groups and identify energy policy options with broad political support. Click here for more information.