We like to say Iowa grows corn, but the truth is, Corn Grows Iowa. You’ve probably experienced the “highway view” of corn as you travel our great state. But take a closer look, and you’ll discover the many connections you have to corn.
Corn grows fuel.
A renewable fuel that’s better for our environment, our health, our wallets – and grown right in our backyard? That’s corn-based ethanol, and Iowa produces more of it than any other state, giving you an abundance of choice at the pump. But all that choice can be confusing. Let’s break down the options (you can also use our Vehicle Fuel Finder to find the best fuel for your vehicle, plus locate where to fuel up in Iowa).
Corn grows food.
When it comes to corn, there’s plenty to go around for fuel AND feed that ultimately means corn-fed food on your table. In fact, corn is such a versatile crop that one of the byproducts of ethanol – dried distillers grains – is frequently used as a feed ingredient for animals. Basically, we can thank corn for the meat, dairy, poultry and eggs we all enjoy.
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.
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.
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.
Eggs Every Day
Iowa produces enough eggs to provide an egg-a-day for every Iowan for 14 years. That all starts with a diet of corn.
Corn grows products.
Did we mention corn is used to make over 4,000 everyday products? From fireworks to diapers to soap, you’ll find corn on the label for literally thousands of non-food products. Corn, it really is everything.
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.
Cornstarch is used as a binder in fireworks, helping to increase their burn time and explosiveness.
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.
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.
Corn grows conservation.
More than 97% of Iowa’s farms are family owned. Why does that matter? It means that not only are these family farmers focused on growing a crop we all benefit from, but they’re also deeply vested in leaving a legacy for the next generation of their family. And that requires the utmost care of our water and soil.
From adopting sustainable farm practices like cover crops and no-till that protect our soil to reducing fertilizer use with on-farm technology, learn more about how Iowa farmers care about the water we share.
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