The Crop That Ate America

Hawaii Intelligence Digest, 12 May 2017, 05:55 hrs, UTC, Post #198.


Reporters:  Alan Bjerga, Jeremy Diamond, and Cindy Hoffman.

Accessed on 12 May 2017, 05:55 hrs, UTC.

Please click link to read the full story.


The United States is quickly becoming a monocrop nation.  The increasing profitability of corn has reduced land dedicated to grains such as sorghum, oats, and wheat.  According to,com, corn now accounts for more than 65% of all grain exported by the United States.  Domestically, corn has turned in a healthy return in such diverse applications as animal feed and biofuel production such as ethanol.

Reporters Alan Bjerga, Jeremy Diamond, and Cindy Hoffman say that, while profits from corn production keep growing, there are warnings on the agricultural horizon:

“Corn’s rise has transformed the American landscape. Rice, the only crop that can compete with corn in yields, has held on to its acreage in the regions where weather and soil conditions allow it to be grown, and sorghum has had a mini-revival on the Southern Plains, thanks to buying interest from China. But the U.S. Corn Belt has moved north and west, taking with it soybeans, the crop that tends to fit best in rotation with corn. The expansion has taken land away from wheat, once the top U.S. staple grain, and completely driven oats and barley from some parts of the country.” warns that the surge in corn production puts farmers as well as machine makers into a one-crop economy, which shows volatility and trade risks if major buyers, such as Mexico, stop buying U.S. corn.  The current Trump administration has not endeared itself to many nations which are trading partners with the U.S.  Rejection of U.S. corn exports as a reaction to U.S. foreign policy could have devastating consequences for U.S. farmers who have invested heavily into this one crop.

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Until next time,

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest


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