My Generation

Thanks and Giving: Corn and Beans

Day 29 of giving thanks…for our bread and butter.

I was at a field day this past summer and a rep for Dairyland Seeds was speaking. He was from Wisconsin and was actually there to talk alfalfa, but he commented that whenever he thinks they can grow pretty good corn up there, he just drives through Illinois…because we can really grow corn here.

It's true. From May to October, 12 million acres of Illinois farmland are covered with corn. I've always been amazed by the architecture of the corn plant – brace roots work so perfectly (usually), silks, tassels – it all comes together for an amazing plant and an amazing crop, from which we can derive anything from ethanol to sugar.

And then there are the soybeans. Remember 10 or 12 years ago, when we first started talking about new uses for soybeans and people started using soy flour to make cookies and they tasted good, but kind of…beany? No longer. Soy is in everything. It's the darling of foodies, almost to the extent that corn is not. Which is odd, for corn at least.

We have much to be grateful for in agriculture, and in Illinois at least, corn and soybeans are very near the top of the heap.

Thanks & Giving Day 30: My Farmer

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