Close-up photo of a corn field

Corn: It’s Everything

When it comes to growing corn, Iowa is number one. The fact is we grow a lot of corn. There’s an abundance of corn to feed livestock, produce fuel and use corn as an ingredient in over 4,000 everyday products. Corn, it really is everything!

Photo of corn kernels

Corn grows Food

Livestock love the taste of corn! In fact, Iowa livestock consume 357-million bushels of corn each year (a bushel of corn is about the size of a laundry basket)! Basically, we can thank corn for the meat, dairy, poultry and eggs we all enjoy.

Photo of a pig

Top-Quality Pork

Pigs are the top livestock consumer of corn grown in Iowa, and for good reason. Farmers feed pigs a high-quality diet consisting of corn and other grains to provide them with the energy they need to grow.

Photo of steaks in butcher paper

Corn-Fed Beef

Perfectly marbled, juicy steaks. You can thank corn for that. All cattle start on a diet of grass, but “corn-fed beef” means the animals transition to a grain-based diet, which increases the fat-to-muscle ratio, creating a more flavorful, juicier steak.

Photo of cows eating

Nutritious Dairy

To produce high-quality milk, there’s a lot of planning that goes into a dairy cow’s diet to ensure she gets all the nutrients she needs. That often includes corn silage, which is made up of corn leaves and stems, and provides a high-energy, easy digestible feed source for dairy cows.

Photo of eggs in a grocery store

Protein-Packed Eggs

Iowa produces enough eggs to provide an egg-a-day for every Iowan for 14 years! That all starts with a diet of corn.

Photo of corn bread

Corn-Inspired Recipes

Does all this talk about corn make you hungry? Explore nearly 100 of our tried-and-true corn-inspired recipes!

Photo of corn machinery

Corn grows 4,000+ Products

Did you know your grocery cart and home are full of corn products? Everything from plastic cups and water bottles to soap, lipstick, envelopes and even beer! Check out some of these products made from corn below and in this corn uses graphic.

What Products are Made from Corn?

Illustration of a diaper


Corn can be used as an alternative to many petroleum-based products. Items like plastic straws, water bottles and even diapers can be made using homegrown, sustainable corn.

Illustration of fireworks


Corn starch is used as a binder in fireworks, helping to increase their burn time and explosiveness.

Illustration of a soap dispenser


Corn can function as a gentle abrasive, a softening emollient, a thickening agent or even as a fragrance in soap, laundry detergent and hair products.

Illustration of a biodegradable cup

Biodegradable Cups

You’ll also find corn in a corn-based plastic known as PLA. Biodegradable and carbon-neutral, PLA is used in everyday items like packaging and the cups we use to serve Iowa-based brews, some of which also contain corn.

Dry-Milled and Wet-Milled Corn Products

Check out even more ways corn is used in some of our favorite products.

Dry-Milled Corn Products

Drymilling corn leads to all sorts of products such as grits, cornmeal and cornflour.

Grit Uses

  • Brewing beer
  • Corn flakes
  • Other breakfast cereals
  • Snack Foods

Corn Meal Uses

  • Bakery mixes
  • Cereals
  • Corn Bread
  • Corn meal mixes
  • Corn muffins
  • Hush puppies
  • Pancake mixes
  • Snacks
  • Spoon bread

Corn Cones/Flour Uses

  • Baby foods
  • Bakery mixes
  • Breading, coatings and batters
  • Cereals
  • Dusting for pizzas
  • English muffins
  • Fermentation processes
  • Meat products
  • Pancakes, muffins, doughnuts

Wet-Milled Corn Products

Wet-milledcorn goes into a wide variety of both food and non-food products.

Food and Drug Uses

  • Aspirin
  • Baby food
  • Baked goods
  • Baking powder
  • Cake, cookie, dessert mixes
  • Candies
  • Cereals
  • Coffee whitener
  • Dried soups
  • Drugs
  • Gravy mixes
  • Instant breakfast foods
  • Instant pudding mixes

Food and Drug Sweetener Uses

  • Alcoholic beverages and brewing
  • Baby foods
  • Bacon
  • Baked goods
  • Caramel color
  • Carbonated and fruit beverages
  • Cereals
  • Cheese spreads
  • Canned fruits, fruit fillings
  • Chewing gum
  • Condiments
  • Confections, chocolate
  • Drugs

Food and Drug Fermentation Products

  • Antibiotics
  • Baker products
  • Citric acid
  • Enzymes
  • Food acids
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Wine

Industrial Starch Uses

  • Paper, recycled paper
  • Cardboard
  • Textiles
  • Glues and adhesives
  • Batteries
  • Bookbinding
  • Cleaners, detergents
  • Fireworks
  • Color carrier for printing
  • Coatings on paper, wood and metal
  • Crayons and Chalk
  • Dyes

Industrial Sweetener Uses

  • Acetic acid
  • Charcoal briquettes
  • Dyes and inks
  • Enzymes
  • Insecticides
  • Laminated building materials
  • Matches
  • Metal plating
  • Organic solvents
  • Paper
  • Plasticizing agents
  • Rayon

Industrial Fermentation Products

  • Acetic and amino acids
  • Blankets and bedding
  • Carpet tile
  • Cosmetics
  • Electroplating and galvanizing
  • Food packaging
  • Mannitol
  • Industrial chemicals
  • Disposable cold drink cups, plates and cutlery
  • Leather tanning
  • Organic solvents
  • Paper