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There's a Corn War Brewing Between US and Mexico

Obrador promised to ban GMO corn, and American farmers are deeply concerned

(Newser) - The US and Mexico are in a major row over corn, and US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack met Monday with Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to try to smooth things over. Per the BBC , Vilsack praised Obrador for continuing a productive dialogue but also warned that...

Internet Sensation 'Corn Kid' Is Handling Fame Well

Boy named Tariq continues to gain renown after interview about corn

(Newser) - It's been over a month since “Corn Kid” first graced the internet, expressing his love and knowledge of corn and wishing everyone a “corntastic day.” Since then, he's become a meme that's taken on a viral life its own, per CNET . It all started...

Rare Storm Causes Heartbreak for Iowa Corn Farmers

Hopes of a record crop have been wrecked

(Newser) - Farmers across a wide swath of Iowa are dealing with the heartbreaking aftermath of a rare wind storm that turned what was looking like a record corn crop into deep losses for many. The storm, known as a derecho, slammed the Midwest with straight line winds of up to 100...

Pests Evolve to Eat Corn Designed to Kill Them
Pests Evolve to Eat Corn
Designed to Kill Them
in case you missed it

Pests Evolve to Eat Corn Designed to Kill Them

Corn rootworm is once again making a dent in farmers' crops

(Newser) - A hungry pest known as the western corn rootworm is gradually developing a resistance to genetically modified crops engineered to kill it, reports Nature . Entomologists say they're discovering more and more of the beetles that show no ill effects after chowing down on fields of Bt corn—so named...

Inside Ethanol's Quiet, Dirty Toll on Environment

Industry fumes over AP report

(Newser) - President Obama, and President Bush before him, fought hard to make ethanol a central part of American energy. But an AP investigation finds that the program as it stands may be doing far more environmental harm than good. The effort to grow corn for fuel has meant the destruction of...

As GMO Corn Weakens, Pesticides Are Back

Rootworms developing resistance to Monsanto gene

(Newser) - In 2003, Monsanto debuted corn seeds with a gene—Bt—that generates pest-killing toxins designed to resist the ravages of rootworm. Soil insecticide use cratered as a result, with only 9% of corn acreage nationwide treated with it in 2010, down from 25% in 2005. But then things started to...

Get Ready for the Biggest Corn Crop Since 1936

2012 drought sent prices soaring

(Newser) - Last year's drought sent corn prices soaring, and this year, US farmers are looking to take advantage of it. They're set to plant the biggest corn crop the country has seen since 1936, USA Today reports, sowing some 97.3 million acres of the commodity. Right now, corn...

Russia Bans Monsanto's GMO Corn

It cites new study raising fears of cancer

(Newser) - Russia won't be importing any genetically modified US corn from Monsanto for a while, after a new study suggested it raised the risk of cancer, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch . Monsanto is calling the French study bogus and said the safety of its NK603 corn is "well established....

As Corn Prices Jump, Cattle Fed Candy least that's what one Kentucky rancher is doing

(Newser) - If you're wary of the antibiotics and hormones fed to America's cattle, brace yourself: Some of them are also being fed candy. WPSD reports on one Kentucky rancher's "solution" to the exploding price of corn. The owner of Mayfield's United Livestock Commodities explains that "...

Drought-Ravaged Farmland Selling for More Than in 2011

Prices keep rising, thanks to federal subsidies, insurance payments

(Newser) - With a historically awful drought laying waste to fields across the country, you might think farmland prices would be down—but you'd be wrong. The average price of farmland in Iowa jumped 24% in the second quarter compared to last year, while in Illinois it rose 15%, according to...

How the Drought Could Actually Help Farms

Devastated corn could prompt change: William G. Moseley

(Newser) - The drought is devastating America's corn crops—but that could actually be a good thing, argues William G. Moseley in the New York Times . Right now, the Midwest is "dangerously focused" on corn and soybeans, and the lack of diversity "restricts our diets, degrades our soils, and...

USDA Declares Biggest Disaster Ever

One-third of America's counties now natural-disaster areas

(Newser) - It's a confirmation of just how brutal this season has been: The US Department of Agriculture yesterday declared the biggest disaster in its history, identifying 1,016 counties in 26 states as natural-disaster areas. That covers about a third of America's counties, notes Bloomberg . The apocalyptic-sounding declaration brings...

Bad News for Food Prices as Corn Crop Shrivels

This was supposed to be the best harvest in generations

(Newser) - This year saw the largest corn planting in 75 years, and only two months ago, experts predicted a record corn harvest that would send food prices downward. But those high hopes have given way to murmurs about the drought of 1988 ... and the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Portions of...

Ethanol's Long Joyride Runs Out of Gas

Fuel additive faces first decline in 15 years

(Newser) - After 15 years of growth, ethanol production will fall this year and be flat next year, shocking an industry that has only known boom times for many years, reports the Wall Street Journal . Driven by government mandates, production of the corn-based fuel additive tripled from 2005 to 2011, reaching nearly...

Record Corn Harvest Could Sink Food Prices

Agriculture officials predict a bumper crop this year

(Newser) - Consumers could see some relief from higher food prices by late fall, if the latest government crop forecast holds up. The US Agriculture Department predicted today that corn production will total 14.8 billion bushels, with a record yield of 166 bushels per acre. That compares with 12.4 billion...

Environmentalists Fear New Biotech Corn

Dow's 'Enlist' resists powerful herbicide

(Newser) - Debate is raging over a new biotech corn engineered by Dow Chemical. The corn, called "Enlist," is intended to solve farmers' struggle against tough weeds; that's because it's resistant to a powerful herbicide, also made by Dow. But environmentalists fear that wind, heat, and humidity would...

Potatoes Make Junk Food —but They're Not Junk
Potatoes Make Junk Food
—but They're Not Junk
Mark Bittman

Potatoes Make Junk Food —but They're Not Junk

Mark Bittman: Corn, potatoes don't deserve their bad rap

(Newser) - Corn and potatoes get a bad rap, due to the fact that we mainly consume them in junk food form. But corn and potatoes themselves are, Mark Bittman reminds us in the New York Times , "real food"—unlike, say, Pringles, which are potato chips that contain just 42%...

Seed Shortage Buries Hopes for Record Corn Crop

Corn prices may hit record high this year

(Newser) - American farmers had been planning the biggest corn planting since World War II this spring, but they're being thwarted by a seed shortage. Drought conditions in the Midwest and Great Plains last year have caused what dealers in the corn belt say is the biggest shortage of top-quality seeds...

Uh-Oh: Bugs Develop Resistance to Franken-Corn

Genetically modified crop no longer fends off all pests

(Newser) - Farmers in Iowa who planted corn seeds genetically modified to fend off the dreaded corn rootworm are seeing a troubling sign: The rootworm is apparently developing a resistance to the Monsanto seeds and gobbling up cornfields again, say Iowa University researchers. It's still just a small percentage of rootworms...

Forget Corn Syrup: Now It's 'Corn Sugar'

Makers hope name change will ease consumers' minds

(Newser) - The backlash against high-fructose corn syrup has finally led its makers to try out a new name: corn sugar. The Corn Refiners Association wants people to know that—according to its marketing campaign—"whether it's corn sugar or cane sugar, your body can't tell the difference. Sugar is sugar....

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