According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, American farmers are planting their largest corn crop in recent history, hoping to cash in on record corn prices.
The corn boom has been at the heart of the recent farm boom in the U.S. Increased ethanol production and consumption has helped raise demand, inflating prices, and increasing farm incomes to their highest level in years. In an overall sluggish economy, the farm sector remains one of the few bright spots.
Farmers are hoping to capitalize on these prices by planting the largest corn crop in eighty years. According to the USDA, farmers have already planted 96.4 million acres of corn, the highest acreage since 1937. The acreage statistics represent a five percent increase from last year.
Some farmers have worried that record corn harvests could drive down prices and put an end to years of farm income increases. However, recent droughts that have hit several Midwestern states may keep prices high and even cause them to go higher. Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin, states located in the heart of the Corn Belt, have been struggling with drought conditions this summer. While the record planting could help insulate many farmers from anticipated losses, the poor conditions are likely to limit the final harvests.
According to an economist with the National Corn Growers, the drought will keep the corn supply and corn prices in check. “I don’t think the corn supply is going to grow tremendously this year and there is potential for it to get smaller.”
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer