Sunday, June 27, 2010

Corn: It's No Longer King

Corn: It's No Longer King

by TESS LANDERS Arlington, VA

With corn consumption at an all-time low, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that it will put a stop to the majority of subsidy payments to industrial corn farmers. During a press conference on the White House lawn, USDA officials pointed out that even though corn famers project another bumper crop of 12.9 billion bushels this year, it expects corn consumption to be only 1 billion bushels.
"The USDA, in good conscience, can no longer make subsidy payments for a product that the U.S. citizens no longer wish to consume, whether directly, through corn and corn products like high-fructose corn syrup, or indirectly through the meat they eat," said Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Starting in 2010, the USDA will only subsidize enough corn to meet demand. You will no longer see mountains of unused corn across the Midwest."
The USDA has dolled out more than $56.2 billion in corn subsidy payments from 1995 to 2006, the latest year for which data is available.
By drastically reducing the number of subsidy payments for corn, the USDA will be able to provide payments to farmers that produce products that are increasingly in demand, including grass-fed beef and locally grown organic vegetables, officials said.
"We will also provide subsidy payments to corn farmers that wish to transition their farms to other products," Vilsack said.
Corn farmers oppose the USDA's decision, but they will adapt to consumer demand, according to industry groups like the National Corn Growers Association. Other groups applauded the decision, citing the increasing number of food manufacturers, like S.B. Thomas, makers of English muffins and other bread products, that have incorporated "now with no high fructose corn syrup" in their packaging. They also cite a grassroots effort by consumers nationwide to eat corn-free diets.

In the best of all possible worlds... 

Too bad there's no way for readers to post comments on the original story.... i would love to see Audrae Erickson's comment on this one...

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