With a new baby, I hardly ever get to sleep through the night. About a week ago, I started recording programs so I would have something better than infomercials to watch.
The other night, I watched a Discovery Channel program on corn. A group called Howstuffworks (www.howstuffworks.com) put together an hour-long program on the basics of corn growing and corn's versatility.
Within the first few minutes, I laughed at "the shocking revelation most viewers don't know." Ready for the big secret? The majority of the U.S. corn crop is not for human consumption. Gasp!
The program covered multiple uses for corn, including: plastics, sweeteners and ethanol. Heck, they even covered popcorn. When the hour was up, I realized one corn use had been left out entirely -- livestock feed! Throughout the entire hour, I counted one passing reference to feed use.
How can you cover the basics of corn without saying its major use is livestock feed? I guess that's what you get when you watch a program designed for the non-farming masses.
The program featured experts from the University of Tennessee, Iowa State University and various private industry sectors. I was disappointed no one from Illinois was interviewed. After all, we are the second largest corn production state. Plus, we beat out Iowa in yields last year.
Despite the program's shortfalls, it did explain some things very well. Planting, harvest and nitrogen costs were nicely done.
There was also an interesting bit on a group of scientists growing corn in an underground setting in an attempt to cure cystic fibrosis. The cave setting is an extra precaution to keep experimental pollen from drifting into a field.
Even though the program had a few holes in it, hopefully it educated some viewers. At the very least, I hope it cleared up the misconception that all corn is for human consumption.