Children of the Corn

Children-of-the-Corn

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Children of the Corn

Americans love corn! In fact, we consume one third of the world’s corn supply. As a result, scientists have determined that over half of the American human biomass can be traced back to the consumption of corn. We took a look at the corn industry to see just how big it is, and here’s what we found.

It’s Really, Really Big

In 2013/14 the U.S. planted 95.4 million acres of corn.

  • That’s just over 5% of the contiguous U.S. (Contiguous US landmass: 1,891,098,508 acres).
  • That’s roughly the size of Montana (Montana: 94.1 million acres).
  • Most corn fields are in the Midwest:

Corn Acres Planted by State 2013

State Acres
Iowa 13,600,000
Illinois 12,000,000
Nebraska 9,950,000
Minnesota 8,600,000
South Dakota 6,200,000
Indiana 6,000,000
Kansas 4,300,000
Wisconsin 4,100,000
Ohio 3,900,000
North Dakota 3,850,000
Missouri 3,350,000
Michigan 2,600,000
Texas 2,350,000
Kentucky 1,530,000
Pennsylvania 1,480,000
Colorado 1,220,000
New York 1,200,000
North Carolina 930,000
Tennessee 890,000
Arkansas 880,000
Mississippi 860,000
Louisiana 680,000
California 600,000
Georgia 510,000
Virginia 510,000
Maryland 480,000
Oklahoma 370,000
Idaho 350,000
South Carolina 350,000
Alabama 320,000
Washington 190,000
Delaware 180,000
Montana 120,000
New Mexico 120,000
Florida 115,000
Wyoming 100,000
Vermont 92,000
New Jersey 90,000
Arizona 85,000
Utah 83,000
Oregon 80,000
West Virginia 53,000
Maine 31,000
Connecticut 27,000
Massachusetts 16,000
New Hampshire 14,000
Nevada 7,000
Rhode Island 2,000
United States 95,365,000

Corn Bushels

One acre of corn yields 158.8 bushels of corn.

In 2013/14 the US produced 13,925,000,000 bushels of corn

  • That’s 389,900,000 tons of corn.
  • That’s just over 1 quadrillion kernels of corn.
  • That’s enough ears of corn to stack end to end all the way to Mars!

One bushel of corn weighs 56 pounds and contains about 72,800 kernels. That’s enough to do one of the following:

  • sweeten 400 cans of soda
  • make enough oil for two pounds of margarine
  • make enough starch for a ton of paper
  • make 15 pounds of carbon dioxide “fizz” in soft drinks
  • produces 6 pounds of beef
  • produces 13 pounds of pork
  • produces 20 pounds of chicken
  • produces 28 pounds of catfish

It takes 5,096 gallons of water to produce one bushel of corn. Annually, the industry uses about 71 trillion (70,961,800,000,000) gallons of water.

  • That’s 64.4 cubic miles of water.
  • That’s almost 2 Lake Tahoes (39 trillion gallons).
  • That’s 27 gallons of water for every person in the world every day! (world population: 7,184,206,600)
  • That’s 610 gallons of water for every person in the U.S. every day! (U.S. population: 318,613,900)

Corn Price

Since 2005 the price of corn has fluctuated from $1.77 per bushel (November 2005) to $7.63 per bushel (August 2012).

Corn Prices per Bushel from 2005-2014

Month 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Jan $2.12 $2.00 $3.05 $3.98 $4.36 $3.66 $4.94 $6.07 $6.96 $4.42
Feb $1.95 $2.02 $3.44 $4.54 $3.87 $3.55 $5.65 $6.28 $7.04 $4.35
Mar $2.02 $2.06 $3.43 $4.70 $3.85 $3.55 $5.53 $6.35 $7.13 $4.51
Apr $2.00 $2.11 $3.39 $5.14 $3.85 $3.41 $6.36 $6.34 $6.97 $4.71
May $1.98 $2.17 $3.49 $5.27 $3.96 $3.48 $6.32 $6.34 $6.97 $4.71
Jun $2.03 $2.14 $3.53 $5.47 $4.01 $3.41 $6.38 $6.37 $6.97 $4.49
Jul $2.11 $2.14 $3.32 $5.25 $3.60 $3.49 $6.33 $7.14 $6.79 $3.80
Aug $1.95 $2.09 $3.26 $5.26 $3.33 $3.65 $6.88 $7.63 $6.21
Sep $1.90 $2.20 $3.28 $5.01 $3.25 $4.08 $6.38 $6.89 $5.40
Oct $1.82 $2.55 $3.29 $4.37 $3.61 $4.32 $5.73 $6.78 $4.61
Nov $1.77 $2.88 $3.44 $4.26 $3.65 $4.55 $5.83 $7.01 $4.35
Dec $1.92 $3.01 $3.77 $4.11 $3.60 $4.82 $5.86 $6.87 $4.41

The average American spends $267 a year on corn products.

Corn subsidies in the United States totaled $84.2 billion from 1995-2012 including $10.1 billion in 2005.

Corn Subsidies by Year

Year Subsidies
1995 $2,934,905,729
1996 $2,119,059,178
1997 $2,906,300,158
1998 $5,064,623,707
1999 $7,567,377,481
2000 $8,058,490,166
2001 $5,982,553,434
2002 $2,498,438,678
2003 $3,439,944,864
2004 $5,308,631,482
2005 $10,138,944,101
2006 $5,796,967,431
2007 $3,805,912,133
2008 $4,194,188,349
2009 $3,721,416,346
2010 $3,420,801,641
2011 $4,570,800,451
2012 $2,702,459,733
Total $84,231,815,062

Iowa raked in the most subsidies at 15.3 billion dollars between 1995-2012.

Corn Subsidies by State

State 1995-2012 Subsidies
Iowa $15,314,189,382
Illinois $12,749,088,210
Nebraska $9,445,077,936
Minnesota $8,164,656,461
Indiana $6,234,211,148
South Dakota $3,977,592,455
Ohio $3,736,899,080
Wisconsin $3,661,069,711
Kansas $3,125,754,672
Missouri $2,853,435,399
Michigan $2,290,224,784
Texas $1,875,788,609
North Dakota $1,507,610,078
Kentucky $1,337,799,268
Colorado $1,267,772,523
North Carolina $791,327,143
Pennsylvania $750,727,345
New York $723,446,598
Tennessee $582,325,013
Maryland $422,752,795
Virginia $414,080,796
Georgia $346,373,069
California $304,821,943
South Carolina $293,568,586
Louisiana $285,858,100
Mississippi $277,122,427
Oklahoma $200,042,520
Alabama $173,979,201
Arkansas $153,513,158
Delaware $132,622,896
New Mexico $121,281,847
Idaho $95,656,091
Washington $80,512,036
Wyoming $75,705,557
New Jersey $64,104,525
Vermont $63,725,778
West Virginia $51,296,548
Florida $50,628,764
Montana $47,786,681
Arizona $38,822,581
Utah $33,082,759
Oregon $32,251,015
Connecticut $25,789,401
Maine $25,447,817
Massachusetts $17,008,175
New Hampshire $13,183,044
Rhode Island $918,528
Nevada $895,135
TOTAL $84,231,827,588

Corn Use

Uses of corn in 2013/14

  • Feed: 38% (5,175,000,000 bushels)
  • Fuel: 37% (5,075,000,000 bushels)
    • Roughly 1/4th of this (1,293,000,000 bushels) becomes DDGS, a co-product of ethanol, which is then used for feed
  • Food: 10% (1,385,000,000 bushels)
  • Exports: 14% (1,900,000,000 bushels)

Grains produced for feed in 2013/14:

  • Corn: 95.3% (5,175,000,000 bushels)
  • Oats: 1.8% (98,000,000 bushels)
  • Sorghum: 1.7% (95,000,000 bushels)
  • Barley: 1.2% (63,000,000 bushels)

Grains produced for food in 2013/14:

  • Corn: 81.8% (1,385,000,000 bushels)
  • Barley: 9.1% (155,000,000 bushels)
  • Sorghum: 4.7% (79,000,000 bushels)
  • Oats: 4.4% (75,000,000 bushels)

Corn Consumption

Americans consume one-third of all corn produced in the world.

  • Consumption of corn (excluding corn syrup) in the U.S. increased 205% from 1970-2012:
  • Consumption of corn sweetener in the U.S. increased 286% from 1970-2012:

Corn Consumption by Year

Year Corn (excluding Sweeteners) Pounds per person per year Corn Sweeteners Pounds per person per year Total Corn Consumption per Person per Year
1967 13.1 14.2 27.3
1968 12.4 14.8 27.2
1969 12.2 15.3 27.5
1970 11.1 15.9 27.0
1971 10.4 16.7 27.1
1972 9.7 17.8 27.5
1973 9.8 19.7 29.5
1974 10.2 21.2 31.4
1975 10.8 23.3 34.1
1976 11.0 25.2 36.2
1977 12.2 27.3 39.5
1978 12.4 28.4 40.8
1979 12.8 31.8 44.6
1980 12.9 35.3 48.2
1981 13.3 39.1 52.4
1982 13.8 42.7 56.5
1983 14.7 47.6 62.3
1984 16.0 53.8 69.8
1985 17.2 62.2 79.4
1986 19.4 62.8 82.2
1987 21.7 65.2 86.9
1988 21.7 66.9 88.6
1989 21.8 64.6 86.4
1990 21.4 66.8 88.2
1991 21.7 68.0 89.7
1992 22.1 70.5 92.6
1993 23.1 73.9 97.0
1994 24.0 75.9 99.9
1995 24.9 77.9 102.8
1996 25.9 77.4 103.3
1997 26.5 81.0 107.5
1998 27.2 82.3 109.5
1999 27.8 83.1 110.9
2000 28.4 81.4 109.8
2001 29.0 80.8 109.8
2002 29.7 81.1 110.8
2003 30.3 78.7 109.0
2004 30.9 78.3 109.2
2005 31.4 77.2 108.6
2006 31.9 74.6 106.5
2007 32.4 72.4 104.8
2008 33.0 68.7 101.7
2009 33.0 65.3 98.3
2010 33.1 63.8 96.9
2011 34.1 61.7 95.9
2012 33.9 61.4 95.4

We Are What We Eat

The Mayan creation story tells us of how the gods made man out of corn. They believed that humans were literally made out of corn.

But were they wrong?

Modern scientists now have the capability to forensically determine the diet of humans. It’s pretty simple how it works:

    • Most plants absorb the carbon-12 isotope: a carbon atom made up of 6 protons and 6 neutrons.
    • But corn absorbs the carbon-13 isotope: a carbon atom made up of 6 protons and 7 neutrons.
    • If a person has a higher ratio of carbon-13 than carbon-12 in their flesh, it means that person has had more corn in their diet.

When scientific researchers took a look at the amount of carbon-13 isotopes present in North American diets, they found that more than 50% of the American human biomass can be traced back to corn consumption.

The Mayans were right—we’re practically corn chips on legs.

But how can that be true?

Sure, we eat corn chips, high fructose corn syrup, and corn on the cob, but how could we be eating so much corn that our isotope ratios make us look like mobile cornstalks?

Because corn is basically everywhere.

Three out of four supermarket products contain corn.

All in all, there are more than 3,500 different uses for corn products.

acetic acid, acidulants, alcohol, alcoholic beverages, alkali cooked products, alpha tocopherol, amino acids, antibiotics, artificial flavorings, artificial sweeteners, ascorbates, ascorbic acid, aspartame, aspirin, astaxanthin, baby corn, baby foods, bakery products, baking powder, barley malt, beverages, bleached flour, blended sugar, boiled sweet corn, breakfast cereals, breakfast foods, brewed beverages, brown sugar, calcium citrate, calcium fumarate, calcium gluconate, calcium lactate, calcium magnesium acetate, calcium stearate, calcium stearoyl lactylate, canned corn, canned fruits, canned hominy, canned juices, canned vegetables, caramel and caramel color, carbonmethylcellulose sodium, cellulose microcrystalline, cetearyl glucoside, cheese spreads, chewing gum, chicken nuggets, chocolate drinks, choline chloride, citric acid, citrus cloud emulsion, coco glycerides, coffee whiteners, colloid emulsions, condiments, confectioners sugar, confections, cordials, corn, corn alcohol, corn bread, corn extract, corn flour, corn gluten, corn nuts, corn oil, corn oil margarine, corn starch, corn sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, cornflour, cornmeal, cornstarch, crosscarmellose sodium, crystalline dextrose, crystalline fructose, custards, cyclodextrin, d-gluconic acid, datum, decyl glucoside, decyl polyglucose, dehydrated foods, desserts, dextrin, dextrose, diet sodas, dietary formulations, diglycerides, distilled white vinegar, drying agent, erythorbic acid, erythritol, ethanol, ethocel 20, ethyl acetate, ethyl alcohol, ethyl lactate, ethyl maltol, ethylcellulose, ethylene, extracts, fermentation feedstock, fermentation medium, fermented beverages, fibersol-2, flavor enhancers, flavorings, food starch, fortified foods, french fries, frostings, frozen desserts, frozen meals, frozen seafood, fructose, fruit jams, fruit juice, fruit juice concentrate, fruit preserves, fumaric acid, germ, germ meal, glazes, gluconate, gluconic acid, glucono delta-lactone, gluconolactone, glucosamine, glucose, glucose syrup, glutamate, gluten, gluten feed, glycerides, glycerin, glycerol, golden syrup, gravies, grits, gum candies, hamburger patties, high fructose corn syrup, hominy, honey, hydrolyzed corn, hydrolyzed corn protein, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose pthalate, icings, inositol, instant breakfast foods, instant tea, invert syrup or sugar, iodized salt, ketchup, lactate, lactic acid, lauryl glucoside, lecithin, linoleic acid, liqueurs, liquid thickener, low-cal sweeteners, lysine, magnesium citrate, magnesium fumarate, magnesium stearate, maize, malic acid, malonic acid, malt extract, malt syrup from corn, maltitol, maltodextrin, maltol, maltose, mannitol, mayonnaise, meat products, medicinal syrups, methyl cellulose, methyl gluceth, methyl glucose, methyl glucoside, methylcellulose, microcrystaline cellulose, modified cellulose gum, modified corn starch, modified food starch, molasses, monoglycerides, monosodium glutamate, msg, natural flavorings, nougats, olean, olestra, pan coatings, pastry fillings, peanut butter, pet foods, pharmaceuticals, pickled baby corn, pickled products, pinole, polenta, polydextrose, polylactic acid, polysorbates, polyvinyl acetate, popcorn, posole, potassium citrate, potassium fumarate, potassium gluconate, powdered cellulose, powdered sugar, precooked meals, pregelatinized starch, prepared cereals, prepared condiments, prepared desserts, prepared egg products, prepared soups, prepared soups & sauces, propionic acid, propylene glycol, propylene glycol monostearate, pudding, puddings, retortable thickeners, saccharin, salad dressing, salad dressings, salt, sauces, semolina, simethicone, snack foods, sodium carboxymethylcellulose, sodium citrate, sodium erythorbate, sodium fumarate, sodium lactate, sodium starch glycolate, sodium stearoyl fumarate, soft drinks, sorbate, sorbic acid, sorbitan, sorbitol, sorghum, soup, soup mixes, splenda, starch, stearic acid, stearoyls, sucralose, sucrose, sugar, sweeteners, taco meat, threonine, tobacco products, tocopherol, treacle, triethyl citrate, unfermented beverages, unmodified starch, vanilla, vanillin, vinyl acetate, vitamin d milk, vitamins, water treatment, wine products, xanthan gum, xylitol, yeast

Even bottled water contains corn! Okay, so bottled water doesn’t contain corn, but many of the plastic bottles themselves are made from corn.

abrasive papers, adhesives, boiler compounds, bookbinding, briquettes, candles, carpeting, casting binders, ceiling tiles, ceramic clay binders, ceramics, chemical precursor, cleaning compounds, coatings, composite binders, cord sizing & polishing, cork products, crayon & chalk binders, decorative items, detergents & cleaners, disinfectants, dispersion agents, drilling fluids, dry cell batteries, dye component, dyes & inks, edge paste, engine fuel, explosives, fiberglass sizing, fillers & caulks, fireworks, food packaging, foundry binders, fuel octane enhancers, gypsum wallboard, incendiary compounds, industrial alcohols, insecticides, insulating materials, label adhesives, labels, leather products, leather tanning, lubricating agents, metal plating, molded plastics, oilcloth, ore refining, ore separation compounds, oxygenate in engine fuels, paints, paper color carriers, paper products, plastic molding, plasticizers, plastics, plywood & wallboard, poster paints, powdered cosmetics, powdered insecticides, printing inks, rayon, rubber tires, sandpaper, shade cloth, shoe polish, soaps, solvents, surgical dressings, textile color carriers, textile finishing, theatrical makeup, wallboard, wallpaper, well drilling mud

And even if you’re in a coma, you can’t avoid it—nearly all nutrient formulas designed for tube feeding contain corn.


Children-of-the-Corn


Sources

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