Thu March 31, 2011

Farmers May Boost Corn Crop to Help Ease Global Shortage

U.S. farmers are expected to boost the size of this year’s corn crop - a move that could potentially help to ease global food shortages by the fall.  But even with record-high prices, Colorado farmers may not follow suit.

Grain prices are at their highest levels since the food crisis of 2008.  Worries over a shortage have doubled the price of corn since last summer, to more than $7 a bushel.  New production will help ease concerns over the supply pinch. 

But nearly all of the corn produced in the state is field corn, used primarily as livestock feed, says Katie Olearnick with the Colorado Corn Growers’ Association and the Colorado Corn Administrative Committee.   "So the only food product we get out of that is corn syrup. There’s very little connection between that and food shortages.”

Olearnick says it’s impossible to project what Colorado farmers will do based solely on anticipated high prices.  Rainfall, soil moisture and seed prices are usually bigger factors. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says nationwide, farmers intend to plant more than 92 million acres of corn this spring.  That’s a 5% increase over last year, making it the second-biggest corn crop since 1944. 

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