An amazing year of challenges and successes. That's how Bob Dickey, president of the National Corn Growers Association, described 2008 during the Commodity Classic in Grapevine, Texas.
"We began the year with numerous weather challenges, including floods and storms, across the country and there were those fearful that we would not be able to produce enough corn," said Dickey, who farms near Laurel, Neb.
However, U.S. corn farmers produced near record yields and demonstrated they can provide enough corn for food, fuel, feed and fiber. In fact, the five largest corn crops in U.S. history have been produced in the last five years, he said. "And we are producing this corn on 20 million fewer acres than we did in 1931."
U.S. corn producers and the NCGA rose to another challenge in 2008. "We showed our ability to triumph over a different type of storm. That was the well-funded, malicious attack on corn growers by groups such as the Grocery Manufacturers Association. The GMA and food giants like Kraft attempted to blame higher food costs on farmers.
"We countered with many facts, including that only 5.6 cents worth of corn is in an 18-ounce box of cornflakes," Dickey said. "The real cost culprits were transportation, labor and record company profits."