What is in this article?:
- Texas farmer wades into 'feed versus fuel' battle
- Weather challenges
- Explaining how U.S. corn farmers continue to grow a crop abundant enough to meet all growing demands, a Texas farmer has gained attention from industry publications looking to find the truth behind the headlines.
Ongoing media coverage on corn usage tends to sensationalize trends by pitting demand from the ethanol industry against that from livestock, but Corn Board member Wesley Spurlock, a Texas farmer, has been speaking to groups across the Midwest on why this so-called "feed versus fuel" debate is based in fallacy. Explaining how U.S. corn farmers continue to grow a crop abundant enough to meet all growing demands, he has gained attention from industry publications looking to find the truth behind the headlines.
With further coverage of his success in combating the misinformation plaguing this debate pending, NCGA's podcast series Off the Cob caught up with Spurlock to discuss how corn farmers are growing a larger crop on the land already in production while decreasing inputs used. During this interview, he discussed the innovations facilitating increased yield trends, how the Texas drought plays a major role in recent cattle industry shifts, and the amazing story of modern American agriculture.
"To put it simply, growth in demand from the ethanol industry has mirrored an increase in productivity that yields larger corn crops," Spurlock said. "We are still supplying the livestock industry with the corn that they need for feed, but we now have a market that utilizes an increasingly abundant resource to help solve our energy problems also."
Often overlooked in the debate, he points out that much of the corn initially used for ethanol production ends up serving dual purposes as it re-enters the feed supply as distillers dried grains.
"Distillers dried grains are a tremendous feed additive that bring one-third of the amount of corn initially used for ethanol production back into the feed supply," Spurlock elucidated. "The livestock industry had really increased use of this high-value, affordable product, and it is now a high-demand feed ingredient."
Spurlock notes that U.S. corn farmers have met export demands, even during surges, in addition to supplying the feed and fuel markets. Conceding current carry-out figures may appear low, he explains that 2011 presented a slew of weather challenges unique to the season.