As Americans’ favorite vegetable, corn ranks second to the potato (mashed is the top choice) in a recent survey.
Iowans will concede that honor to their neighbors from Idaho, but they claim boasting rights regarding corn as the grain of choice for biofuel. Corn grown in Iowa is driving the alternative fuel industry that produced a record 10.75 billion gallons of biofuel last year, reducing demand for imported oil by 364 million barrels. So far, no viable fuel has been developed utilizing the potato.
Corn is the most abundant U.S. crop, valued at $47.6 billion in 2009, and the U.S. is the largest producer and exporter in the world. U.S. farmers will produce a record 13.37 billion bushels in the autumn harvest. The amount of corn used for ethanol production in 2010 will total a record 4.55 billion bushels, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Of course, this all ties in to the IZOD IndyCar Series, which is the only form of motorsports to use a renewable and environmentally-friendly fuel (100 percent fuel-grade ethanol) to power its Honda Indy V-8 engines. Corn ethanol (the fermentation of plant sugars) is the fuel source for the fourth Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Pioneer.
And here’s one parting stat to share on Father’s Day: Farmers grow five times as much corn as they did in the 1930s on 20 percent less land and produce 70 percent more corn per pound of fertilizer than they did 35 years ago.