<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=804366656390463&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Iowa Corn Growers Association
Corn: It's Everything page banner

Corn: It's Everything

What happens to all that corn grown by Iowa farmers? Much of the corn grown by Iowa farmers becomes livestock feed and ethanol fuel, or is exported as value-added products.

But that’s not all. Corn is in everything!

4 Sides to Every Kernel

The kernel is made up of four major components – starch, fiber, protein and oil – that can be processed in different ways to be used in all kinds of products. In fact, a typical grocery store contains 4,000 items that list corn ingredients on the label.

Many other products depend on corn as well, from paper goods and cardboard packaging, to all the meat, milk, eggs, poultry and other protein products that come from corn-fed animals.

Ethanol + Livestock Feed

Corn takes many forms and gets used in remarkable ways most folks would never imagine. Thousands of products are made from corn ingredients, like ethanol! What’s even better, Dry Distillers Grain Solubles (DDGS) remains from the production of ethanol serve as a premium source of protein for livestock. Corn-based ethanol can be made through either a dry or wet milling process. In either case, about one-third of the grain ends up as livestock feed.

Click here to learn more about Ethanol.

Click here to learn more about DDGS.

Click here to see a graphic highlighting the many uses of corn. 

Dry Milling Corn

Dry milling for grits, corn meal and corn flour leads to all sorts of products. Here are some examples of dry milled corn uses:


Grit Uses Corn Meal Uses Corn Cones/Flour Uses
Brewing beer Bakery mixes Baby foods
Corn flakes Cereals Bakery mixes
Other breakfast cereals Corn bread Breading, coatings and batters
Snack Foods Corn meal mixes Cereals
  Corn muffins Dusting for pizzas
  Hush puppies English muffins
  Pancake mixes Fermentation processes
  Snacks Meat products
  Spoon bread Pancakes, muffins, doughnuts


Wet Milling Corn

One bushel of wet milled corn produces:

  • 1.6 pounds of crude corn oil, plus
  • 13.5 pounds of corn gluten feed, plus
  • 2.6 pounds of corn gluten meal, plus
  • 31.5 pounds of starch
  • The starch can be further modified to produce 33 pounds of corn sweeteners or 2.7 gallons of ethanol

Here are some examples of wet milled corn uses:

Industrial Starch Uses Industrial Sweetener Uses Industrial Fermentation Products
Paper, recycled paper Acetic acid Acetic and amino acids
Cardboard Charcoal briquettes Blankets and bedding
Textiles Dyes and inks Carpet tile
Glues and adhesives Enzymes Cosmetics
Batteries Insecticides Electroplating and galvanizing
Bookbinding Laminated building materials Food packaging
Cleaners, detergents Matches Disposable cold drink cups, plates and cutlery
Coatings on paper, wood and metal Metal plating Industrial chemicals
Color carrier for printing Organic solvents Leather tanning
Crayons and Chalk Paper Mannitol
Dyes Plasticizing agents Organic solvents
Fireworks Rayon Paper
Industrial filters and water recovery Shampoo Plastics
Lubricants Shoe polish Plasticizers
Ore and oil refining Textiles Soaps and cleaners
Paints Theatrical makeup Sports and active wear
Plastics   Textiles
Rubber tires    
Surgical dressings    
Wallboard and wallpaper    


Food and Drug Uses Food and Drug Sweetener Uses Food and Drug Fermentation Products
Aspirin Alcoholic beverages and brewing Antibiotics
Baby food Baby foods Baker products
Baked goods Bacon Citric acid
Baking powder Baked goods Drugs
Cake, cookie, dessert mixes Caramel color Enzymes
Candies Carbonated and fruit beverages Food acids
Cereals Canned fruits, fruit fillings Pharmaceuticals
Coffee whitener Cereals Wine
Dried soups Cheese spreads  
Drugs Chewing gum  
Gravy mixes Condiments  
Instant breakfast foods Confections, chocolate  
Instant pudding mixes Drugs  
Instant tea Food coloring  
Salad dressings Frosting and icing  
Spray cooking oil Frozen and dried eggs  
Powdered mixes Hams  
Powdered sugar Hot dogs, bologna  
Precooked frozen foods Ice cream, sherbets and frozen puddings  
Salt Jams, jellies, preserves  
Seasoning mixes Marshmallows  
Yeast Peanut butter  
  Pet food  
  Pickles and relishes  
  Tomato sauces  
  Worcestershire sauce  



© 2024 Iowa Corn Promotion Board/Iowa Corn Growers Association. All rights reserved.