There’s never been a greater demand for corn, and it appears producers in Iowa are up to the challenge. Jim Meyer is a corn grower from Odebolt. "I’ve been farming for about 40 years," Meyer says, "and this is the first year that I’ve really been challenged to see how much corn I can produce."
The USDA released a report last week that predicts Iowa will harvest a record 2.51 billion bushels of corn this fall. "To the corn growers, the report is good," Meyer says, "because we’ve been taking a little flack for not having enough corn for ethanol, feed, and food. So, what it’s telling the nation is that – as far as Iowa is concerned – you give us a challenge, and we’ll raise corn for ya."
The report predicts a yield of 180 bushels per acre. Meyer says he’d be a little surprised with that high of an amount, but is excited about the prospect of collecting three to four dollars a bushel. Meyer remembers fears of dollar-a-bushel corn, "that ain’t gonna happen now, because of the demand with ethanol and exports. So, we’re sitting in a really good position." Come harvest time, rural Iowa could get a big economic boost.
"Rural folks are gonna have a little more money in their pocket," Meyers says, "and it’ll show up in a lot better economy for rural Iowa." Iowa’s largest corn crop was 2.2 billion bushels in 2004. Nationwide, the USDA is predicting the corn crop this fall to top 13 billion bushels. Iowa and Illinois are expected to lead the nation is corn production, followed by Nebraska (1.46 billion bushels), and Minnesota (1.19 billion bushels). The report also suggests that Indiana, for the first time ever, will produce a billion bushel crop (1.01 billion bushels).