Corn in South Dakota

Sweet corn represents just one percent of the corn grown in South Dakota. The rest is field corn. Roughly half becomes animal feed while 10 percent becomes food ingredients.

The raw materials of corn – starch, protein, fiber and oil – are marvelously versatile. That’s why corn is an ingredient in so many foods – from cereal to fruit juice, from potato chips to peanut butter and from bread to beer.

Helping Feed the World

The world’s population increases by 200,000 every day. It’s estimated that in 2050, there will be more than nine billion people and we’ll need 60-70 percent more food.

Already, American farmers are the world’s most efficient. Consider these facts:

  •  Each U.S. farmer feeds 155 people per year.
  • U.S. corn farmers grow 20 percent more corn per acre than any other nation.
  • 55 percent of the world’s corn exports come from the U.S.
  • The U.S. produces 40 percent of the world’s corn using only 20 percent of the total area harvested in the world.

Thanks to our farmers, more and more people worldwide are able to enjoy healthy food.

Learn More About Food

People are more interested than ever in learning about their food — where it comes from and how it’s produced. Check out Best Food Facts to learn more about a wide variety of food topics — from food safety to dieting, antibiotics, gluten and much more.

Biotech Foods

You may have heard of seed enhanced by biotechnology or genetically modified (GM or GMO) foods. For thousands of years, humans have been breeding plants using the technology that was available at the time. Just as cellular phone technology has changed communications, advanced plant biology technology has changed plant breeding.

Benefits of GMO technology include:

  • Reduction in the use of chemicals — down by 35 percent on corn and 25 percent on cotton  
  • Increased use of reduced tillage or no-till agriculture, reducing carbon dioxide emissions and reducing fuel usage
  • Lower costs for farmers due to decreased inputs

Numerous studies show no nutritional difference between commercially available GMO foods and non-GMO foods. And GMO foods can actually have increased nutritional content — for example, low linoleic acid canola oil can reduce trans fat content.

Recently, a leading environmentalist, Mark Lynas, changed his position on genetically modified foods and now fully supports them. Find out why he changed his mind here.

And learn more about GMO foods from the point of view of the Grocery Manufacturers Association at The Facts About GMOs.

Corn Syrup

High fructose corn syrup is derived from corn, just as sugar is derived from sugar cane or sugar beets. The processing of corn syrup is similar to the processing of regular sugar and scientifically, there is little difference.

Also, there’s no evidence that corn syrup affects the body any differently than cane sugar; they are metabolically equivalent. What’s important is that sweetened foods — whether they’re sweetened with corn syrup or cane sugar — be enjoyed in moderation.