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View from the Cab: Feeding the World

As I spent several days in the past week traveling up and down the field in the tractor, it occurred to me how proud I am to work in an industry so important to others.

As farmers, we help to feed a growing world. If you have the chance, take a look at the American Farm Bureau Federation website at The site includes plenty of information about the agriculture industry which everyone should know.

According to AFBF, producers only receive 16 cents of every dollar spent on food at home and away from home. The rest goes to other factors besides farming including production materials, wages, transportation and distribution. Thanks to the efficiency of America’s farmers, you and I can enjoy a safe, abundant and affordable food supply.

AFBF also reports that today’s farmers produce about 262 percent more food with fewer inputs than in 1950. Over 21 million American workers process, produce and sell this country’s food and fiber. Also, $115 billion worth of American ag products were exported around the world in 2010. The U.S. has a positive agricultural trade balance since it sells more food and fiber to world markets than it imports.

In case you have ever wondered what those corn and soybeans raised here in Central Illinois are used for, here is some information. Most soybeans are processed for their oil. Processors such as ADM and Cargill separate the oil from meal in raw soybeans. This oil can be refined for cooking and other edible uses or used for biodiesel production.

Corn is used to make ethanol and countless other products. Regular gas-powered cars are able to run on gasoline blended with up to 10 percent ethanol. Biofuels are seen as a replacement for fossil fuels since corn is a renewable resource. Corn syrup is made from corn starch. Starch is a molecular chain of sugars and enzymes are added to break those chains into sugars.

Now those of you not in the ag industry hopefully have a better idea about farmers and what we raise out in those fields. If you have any questions or would like further information, I encourage you to ask a farmer. While you’re at it, be sure to thank him or her for what they do.

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