Iowa corn growers are excited about the news from the U.S. Ag Department today showing a record 14-million acres are planted in corn in the state. High prices brought on by an increased demand created by ethanol prompted the 13-and-a-half percent increase in the number of acres plant last year that is projected to create two-billion-455-million bushels of corn. Darrel McAlexander is farmer and member of the Iowa Corn Promotions Board from Sidney in southwest Iowa.
McAlexander says: "We’ve caught a lot of flack about wondering if we’re going to be able to produce enough corn to provide the food for the livestock industry, and the exports and also our growing export industry. And it looks to me like the Iowa corn growers has stepped up to the plate and are definitely trying to produce the grain that’s going to be needed in the marketplace."
Gary Edwards of the Iowa Corn Growers Association, farms near Anamosa in eastern Iowa. He says the majority of the farmers in his area are three-quarters percent to 100 percent planted in corn. Edwards says in driving from Cedar Rapids to Des Moines, he sees a lot more corn than he has in the past, so the report was about what he expected. Edwards says things got started a little late due to rain, but since then growing conditions have been ideal.
Edwards says temperatures have been extremely warm and the crop has "come on like gangbusters" and he says the crop is probably five days ahead of schedule at this point. McAlexander says the U-S-D-A report should silence some of the criticism raised about the corn industry. "We’ve been catching a lot of flack that we haven’t got enough corn to feed the world, or to feed the livestock industry, because we’re increasing the cost of food," McAlexander says, "and we’re also worried if we have enough corn to feed the ethanol industry. I think the Iowa farmer is really working hard to fill those markets."
Edwards agrees, "The last six months to a year we’ve been hearing that we needed to grow more corn….so it’s refreshing to know that farmers did step up to the plate, and we are going to be able to produce enough to feed everybody."
McAlexander says he’s seen a lot of farmers in southwest Iowa preparing for a big crop. He says just about every farmer is increasing the size of his storage. Nationally, the USDA says farmers planted nearly 93-million acres of corn — up 19-percent from last year and three percent more than the March projection. This would be the most corn acres planted since 1944. Edwards and McAlexander made their comments on a conference call with Iowa reporters.