Hettinger County Farm Bureau and ND Women Involved in Farm Economics: Corn

Corn is also used in our lives all day long in some way or form.

Marlene Kouba demonstrates the many uses of corn to elementary students in New England
Marlene Kouba demonstrates the many uses of corn to elementary students in New England

Posted May 2, 2014

Submitted By MARLENE KOUBA

Corn is also used in our lives all day long in some way or form.  It can start as breakfast cereal or corn muffins, in our bedding or clothing, or in ethanol that takes us to school or the tires on our cars.

The most common types of corn are flint (or Indian) corn, field corn, sweet corn and popcorn.

Corn is a grass and was grown in the Americas more than 5000 years ago but the basic product is considered a vegetable.  Indians grew corn before Columbus came. Every country now grows corn except Antarctica and the United States raises half of the world’s supply.

Most uses of corn begin with corn meal, corn starch, corn sugars or corn oil. There are more than 4000 products now made with corn and three fourths of the groceries in supermarkets contain corn. Field corn is used to make ethanol. Distillers dried grain for livestock feed is one of the byproducts.

A bushel of corn weighs 56 pounds, has 72,800 kernels and can produce 32 pounds of cornstarch or sweetener for 325 cans of soft drinks OR 2.5 gallons of ethanol PLUS oil for two pounds of margarine, enough starch for a ton of paper and 15 pounds of ‘fizz’ for soft drinks.

Besides food items some things made from corn include road de-icer, photo film, paints, laundry detergents, packing peanuts, shopping bags, printer’s ink, cork, eating utensils (knives, forks, spoons), pens, batteries, dyes, plywood, diapers, antibiotics, chewing gum, shoe polish, paper,  soaps, pet foods, fireworks, varnish, matches, oil-well drilling products, ceiling tile, varnish, tires, motor fuel extender, leather tanning, and many more.

The newest products are Ingeo clothing and bedding—a fabric that is made from sugars in field corn but is soft and absorbent. The cars in the Indy 500, some school buses and fleet cars run on ethanol. If you buy gas at a Cenex pump you are using ethanol. Goodyear produces tires made with corn starch.

Corn refining is America’s premier bioproducts industy with an increasing production of new products including biodegradable products.  Check food labels to see if there is a corn product in them. You will be surprised to find how many ways corn is in your everyday lives.

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