Checkoff Chairman Calls on Iowans to 'Stand Up for Corn'

Confronting criticism, Julius Schaaf emphasizes that ethanol helps corn growers produce food and fuel at the same time.

As Iowa farmers continue pushing to get their 2008 crop planted, Julius Schaaf, chairman of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, is reminding all Iowans to "stand up for corn." He says, "From our earliest days as a nation, corn has been an answer to our problems. As an Iowan and a corn farmer, I'm sick and tired of the sniping by people who can't see the true value corn contributes to our lives and the lives of millions around the world."

While the attention has been on corn use for ethanol in recent years, Schaaf notes that even more Iowa corn feeds livestock to put meat and milk on people's plates in the U.S. and in foreign countries. Last year, Iowa produced a record 2.4 billion bushels of field corn. About 565 million of those bushels are expected to support livestock production within Iowa. Of the additional 555 million bushels that leaves the state, most will feed animals in other states or in foreign countries.

Don't forget distillers grains fed to livestock

A third of the 812 million bushels that ends up in ethanol production will also become feed ingredients in the form of distillers grains or corn gluten. The same is true of the 367 million bushels headed for the starch and syrup processors. "By diversifying our corn markets, we're providing food and fuel, and at the same time, we're reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil and supporting a healthy Iowa economy," says Schaaf. "One big reason the recession isn't hitting Iowa as hard as other states is the economic growth we're seeing in the agriculture and ethanol industries. Every Iowan has good reason to celebrate corn and all it's done for our state."

Iowans who want to "stand up for corn" can get details about the food and fuel use of corn on the Iowa corn Web site, www.iowacorn.org, under the "Kernels of Truth" heading, or they can call the ICPB office at 515-225-9242, says Schaaf.

Livestock very important to corn growers

The Iowa Corn Growers Association continues to recognize the important relationship corn has with Iowa's livestock industry, adds Roger Zylstra, an ICGA director who raises corn and hogs near Kellogg in central Iowa. "Livestock is our number on user of corn," he points out. "Even with the recent increase in other uses for corn such as ethanol and industrial grind, livestock still uses more corn than any other sector of the industry."

"The IGCA and ICPB have both always been consistent supporters of the livestock industry in Iowa," he says. "We work through organizations like the Coalition to Support Iowa Farmers and work with our legislators to lobby for bills that are consistent for agriculture as well as promote soil and water conservation and protection of our natural resources in Iowa. We are striving to produce food and fuel for America and do it in an environmentally friendly way."

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