Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Hauling Corn

The break in the weather has allowed us to deliver a couple of loads of corn that we sold in December. Never in our wildest dreams did we ever expect to see corn above $5.00/bushel. Never.

While that’s really good news for those who are raising and selling corn, it’s not such good news for those who are buying it. The price of corn has more than doubled, which makes the feed cost about twice what it used to. Yet the animals are not selling for significantly more than they used to—in fact in some cases, animal prices have actually gone down, as the market is flooded with animals whose farmers cannot afford to feed them.

About a year ago, I read a book titled The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. I found it a very thought-provoking book. It was the first time I encountered the term “industrial agriculture” and I’ve often reflected on (and used) this term since.

The book is a little weird in that the author ascribes motives to corn, giving it almost a sinister intent. But I recommend it as a way to understand some of the issues in farming and food production. I felt his treatment of farmers (both industrial and agrarian) was fair, which is somewhat rare.
If you’ve ever wondered if it was better to eat local or organic, if you’ve ever questioned why high-fructose corn syrup seems to be on every ingredient list, if you’ve ever felt a twinge of guilt as you bit into that hamburger, read the book.

2 comments:

  1. I must look in to reading that book ... I have two in my family that cannot tolerate high fructose corn syrup, and I'll bet there are many more "problem" kids that have similar issues. It bothers me the extent to which corn infiltrates our diet. I'm hoping in one sense that ethanol production does drive the price of corn up ... only so that HFCS is too expensive to be added to everything as a cheap sweetener. But then, of course, there's the feed issue ... sigh ...

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  2. I don't know that you'll gain any practical tips for your struggle with HFCS from this book. But you'll realize all over again how much it's in EVERYTHING.

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