It’s a new year and IL Corn has New Year’s Resolutions too! In 2013, we hope to:
- Pass a workable Farm Bill
- Defend the Renewable Fuel Standard
- Secure funding to upgrade locks and dams on the Mississippi River
- Reintroduce ourselves to the non-farming public
4. REINTRODUCE OURSELVES TO THE NON-FARMING PUBLIC
If a picture is worth a thousand words, we’re prepared to use a thousand pictures to help non-farmers understand what farmers are really about. Today, for “Friday Farm Photo” day, I’d like to share a few pictures to illustrate who Illinois farm families really are and the values and goals they have defined for themselves.
95% of all corn farmers in America are family owned
This means that the picture of “big, corporate farming” that the media has used to instill fear in the public is actually just a mom and pop farm getting bigger to capitalize on economies of scale, just like the rest of the American economy. Most of our farmers are family farmers who have specialized in one or two crops or a specific livestock species, and started producing more of that product in order to afford costly inputs like machinery, seed, regulatory guidelines, and more.
American farmers have cut soil erosion by 44% by using innovative conservation methods.
One such method is called “strip till,” where the remains of last year’s corn crop are left on the field over the winter to secure the soil during the spring thaw season, and the next year’s corn crop is planted in a strip of dirt where a previous pass has cleared away some of the stalks and leaves. Another method would be “no till” where the next year’s crop is simply planted into the refuse of the previous year with no tillage performed. This method works best in a crop rotation as soybeans can perform well with the remains of the corn crop around them. Corn doesn’t do as well growing in the remains of the previous year.
Corn farmers plant genetically modified crops because they perform well under more stressful conditions, require less maintenance, and produce more food … not because they believe that GM crops are likely to harm people and simply don’t care.
GM crops perform better in stressful conditions, eliminating some of the crop loss when Mother Nature strikes. This gives the U.S. a more even corn crop across the years and fuels our livestock and ethanol markets. GM crops require less pesticides and less pesticides requires less trips over the field and less fuel. Farmers are interesting in growing more, using less. GM crops produce more food even under these circumstances to feed a growing world population.
Science has proven GM crops to have no nutritional impact to humans or animals.
Farmers don’t bend on emotional whims. They stick with scientifically proven fact and strive to reduce their inputs, feed more people, and produce safe food for their families and yours.
We are trying to help the non-farming public understand what we are doing and why through important programs like Corn Farmers Coalition, U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, Illinois Farm Families, Illinois Family Farmers Racing Team, and our work at the Normal CornBelters. In 2013, we look forward to continuing those important programs to help you understand who we are and how we are growing your food with care.
ICGA/ICMB Marketing Director