I’ve been farming for a long time, so I’ve heard all the arguments about corn and ethanol – and they’re always wrong. The Washington Post Editorial Board suggested waiving the renewable fuel standard would help address outcomes of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Instead, the Washington Post should be crediting farmers’ increased productivity and efficiency, resulting in higher yields using fewer resources, meeting food and fuel needs to keep prices down.
What’s happening in the world today is disheartening. I recognize how fortunate we are to live in this country where we will plant crops this spring without a war coming through our fields. Corn farmers’ yields are up more than 25 bushels per acre since 2007 on a similar acreage footprint, and we are here to answer the call and help feed and fuel the world.
For the current 2021-22 corn marketing year, USDA estimates corn ending stocks at 1.5 billion bushels. We carried out 1.2 billion bushels in the 2020-21 marketing year. For this planting season, USDA projects 92 million planted acres with a yield of 181 bushels per acre. If projections are met, total production would reach a record 15.2 billion bushels, driving ending stocks up to nearly 2 billion bushels.
The corn kernel is versatile. A kernel’s starch is fermented to make ethanol with no impact on the valuable protein, nutrients, and fiber that are used in efficient ethanol co-products such as animal feeds and oils. As a result, producing ethanol fuel from corn has no effect on the supply of food nutrients from corn, but it does expand our fuel supply and lower fuel prices.
Come on out to my farm. I will show you today’s corn production and how each kernel of corn delivers multiple uses, including food, feed and cleaner, less expensive fuel.