The USDA crop report confirmed that farmers and the agriculture industry continue to produce a plentiful crop. Despite poor planting conditions in 2009, a cool, wet growing season, and an abysmal harvest that still sees corn standing in fields, American farmers shattered records for both yield per acre and total production.
The most recent USDA report indicated that farmers averaged 165.2 bushels of corn per acres, which shatters the previous record of 160.4 set in 2004. In addition, this record yield helped produce the largest corn crop ever at 13.2 billion bushels.
Bob Dinneen, President of the Renewable Fuels Association, is quick to point out that this was accomplished on seven million fewer acres than were required to produce the second-largest crop on record in 2007. Dinneen says such gains in productivity undermine any claims that U.S. biofuel production will require new lands in other nations to come into production. There can be no question, he says, that American farmers have both the capability and the can-do attitude to feed the world while simultaneously helping reduce reliance on imported oil.
Growth Energy said the record yield shatters the myth of food vs. fuel and repeated its demand that the Grocery Manufacturers Association apologize for its multi-million dollar propaganda blitz to spread lies about ethanol.
Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis says the forecast for a record crop once again confirms what America's farmers and renewable fuel producers have known for a long time; that continued innovation in ethanol production and agricultural technology means that we don't have to make a false choice between food and fuel.
"We can more than meet the demand for food and livestock feed while reducing our dependence on foreign oil through the production of homegrown renewable ethanol," Buis said.
National Corn Growers Association President Darrin Ihnen, a farmer in Hurley, South Dakota, says that while they are extremely proud of the achievements of growers in terms of production and yield improvements, they are not surprised.
"Even in difficult conditions, our growers combine the most modern technology available with a strong and determined work ethic to produce a crop that meets all needs for food, feed, fuel and fiber," Ihnen said. "What remains to be seen is the full impact of the millions of bushels that farmers could not yet harvest."
Rebecca Fecitt, director of biotechnology for the U.S. Grains Council says the continued utilization of scientifically proven biotechnology applications provided by life science companies will help to increase corn yields, solidifying the need to continue developing markets for U.S. coarse grains. She says as science becomes even more sophisticated, it will help increase and maintain yields, which will be instrumental in feeding the world's forecasted 9.1 billion people by 2050.