I’ve been trying to think about how to convey to society that in the food vs. fuel battle that is corn and ethanol – FOOD WILL WIN! I learned this as a junior at Kansas State in Dr. Barry Flinchbaugh’s Ag Policy course.  The demand for food will always prevail over the demand for alternative energy sources. Instead of attacking corn, corn syrup and ethanol as the source of all evil and the reason for all the pain and suffering in the world, let’s look past the smoke and mirrors that sensationalist journalism creates and jointly realize that agriculture and corn producers are not evil.

I’ll let my good friend, Baxter Black, take center stage on this one – he puts it just right.

 On the Edge of Common Sense – THE CORN ATTACK – Baxter Black, DVM

In the last few years we have watched an increasing attack on corn. The skewed reasoning is: corn syrup is available, reasonably priced, and good for the average person, therefore; it must be bad! This is the kind of logic that has been applied to farmed salmon, Big Macs, lower taxes, capitalism and pasteurized milk.

I’m sure this same kind of reasoning was applied to earlier “civilizing” discoveries such as air conditioning, the steam engine and fire. In the book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan, © 2006 it was noted that “too much” corn syrup can make you fat, reduce the popularity of competing vegetables like beets and wheat straw, AND someone can make a profit on it!

In the book FIRE, © 5286 BC, the author noted that “too much” fire could cause global warming, reduce your ability to withstand the cold, and someone could likely invent matches and make a profit!

Too often, in the long-established profession of the Luddites, Nay-Sayers, and, otherwise unemployed columnists, their motives can be found by “following the money.” To sell a book or theory, wacko as it may be, you must first find a trend, discovery, or product that is well-known and well-liked. Then you make a persuasive observation casting doubt on the safety, ecological impact, availability and/or the morality of its use. The purpose is to create a problem where none exists; i.e., wild horses, hormone implants, preservatives, oil drilling the tundra, pesticides, irradiation of food, hog confinement sheds, Alar in apples and antibiotics in cattle. Look at what a waste of common sense and money has resulted from the discovery of BSE…in one cow in the United States! It was a fear monger’s feast!

So while lettered experts, authorized “mullers”, activists, and writers are trying to portray corn syrup as some evil substance, others of their kind are searching for easy prey so they can be the “nay-sayer de jour”…Potential headlines:

“Burnt toast, a carcinogen suspect!” “People who lean have a tendency to fall over!” “Carrots used as weapons in Arctic battle!” “Could bovine dewlap be related to snood shrinking in turkeys?” “Should Holsteins sue the Dairy Improvement Association for the Chick-Fil-A ads?” “Is Tractor Fantasy Dangerous?” “Can Tolstoy save your Marriage?” “Packers blame the tennis ball shortage in New Zealand for the drop in the beef market!”

The corn attack has stimulated discourse on why we eat so good, have so much cheap food, and can feed the world’s hungry if need be. The majority of this discussion has been among non-producers, non-scientist and journalists, wherein common sense, economic impact, scientific validity, and overwhelming acceptance are not on the table.

Michael Pollan in his book The Omnivore’s Dilemma caused a ripple. He put corn syrup on the stage for its fifteen minutes of fame. But, as Lincoln said when his dog swallowed an Indian head penny, “This too shall pass.”

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~