Driving County Roads

An on line journal sharing my views. The content reflects my background as a rural person employed in agriculture and as a retired elected official of local government.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

GOT CORN?

The buzz in the ag community is that we are running out of corn. Some of the fuel for this talk is the price increase this fall. It just does not happen very often to see the price of corn increase – especially during harvest time. If you believe in the law of supply and demand, it is reasonable to think the supply is low and that is leading to the higher prices. Some of this is fueled by emotion because there was a drought in parts of the corn belt and the harvest was delayed in other areas. Again, the buzz is that so much corn is going into ethanol that other uses are being shorted. Information from the Minnesota Corn Growers Association says something different.
They have a very graphic diagram that shows Minnesota’s corn production from 1991 to 1995. In those years we produced 685 million bushels. 50% of that production was exported out of the state; 33% was fed to livestock; 11% was processed in Minnesota for uses other than ethanol (primarily high fructose corn sweetener); AND 2% was processed into ethanol.
A companion graphic shows Minnesota’s corn production from 2001-2005. During that time period Minnesota produced 1.03 billion bushels of corn. Again, 50% of that production was exported out of the state; 22% was fed to livestock; 7% was processed in Minnesota for uses other than ethanol; AND 14% was processed into ethanol. Yes, we are using more corn for ethanol; but our production has increased so much that we are still needing to look for markets outside the state for 50% of our crop. (Note: the percentages do not add up to 100% and the graphic makes no explanation for this.) end

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