Iowa corn growers say they can meet the demand for both food and fuel.
Grower leaders from the Iowa Corn Promotion Board and Iowa Corn Growers Association held a media teleconference Friday to answer concerns about corn prices and supplies and the increasing demand for corn to make ethanol.
Bob Bowman, ICGA president, who farms in DeWitt, said the current uproar over corn supplies is nothing new: “We’ve seen this debate before, as recently as 1995/96. I’m no economist, but I can tell you that when we see strong demand and good prices, corn farmers respond with higher production.”
Producers are already thinking about changes to adapt to growing market demand, according to Kyle Phillips, a grower from Knoxville and ICPB chair. He cited ongoing technology improvements that are increasing the amount of corn produced on each acre and grower efforts to use land more efficiently through practices such as modified crop rotations. Phillips noted that he plans to shift from corn on 50% of his acreage to planting corn on 64% of his land in 2007.
Both men agreed that the current healthy demand for corn and strong corn prices are good news for Iowa’s growers and the local economies they support because they give farmers an opportunity to be profitable in the marketplace.