“There is no such thing as a stupid question.”
This week, the world will celebrate “Ask a stupid question” day. Apparently it was created in the 1980s to encourage school children to ask more questions in class and not feel scared or that they’d be ridiculed.
So today, Illinois Corn brings you a variety of questions that we think are anything but stupid!
When the weather affects the crops, how do the farmers recoup their losses?
Farmers are a vital part of the country’s economy. They help grocery stores stay stocked with fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats. Farmers rely on several things to help get them through a difficult farming year.
Crop insurance can provide financial relief to people who suffer the loss of their crops for whatever reason. Usually farmers lose their crops due to weather incidents that take place. These include rain, tornadoes, droughts, or floods. Most farmers purchase some type of crop insurance to protect themselves.
Some farmers never recoup their costs from a bad growing season. Sometimes they have to take a loss and rely on whatever savings they have stored up from previous years.
What’s ethanol, and why do we need it?
Ethanol is an alcohol made from renewable resources such as corn and other cereal grains, food and other beverage wastes and forestry by-products. Ethanol-blended fuel substantially reduces carbon monoxide and volatile organic compound emissions, which are precursors to ozone. Adding ethanol to gasoline reduces harmful emissions, lowers the cost of our transportation fuels – and reduces our reliance on foreign oil imports. Find more information about ethanol at www.ethanolfacts.com
Wouldn’t our food be healthier if you didn’t use chemicals?
Much like people don’t want ants in the kitchen or weeds in the garden, corn and soybean farmers don’t want insects and weeds in our crops. Pests cause significant damage, spread diseases and destroy otherwise healthy crops.
When we need to use a pesticide or herbicide, we use the least amount possible, of the safest material possible. Farmers are trained and certified to apply chemicals by the Illinois Department of Agriculture. We also have to follow very strict rules from the EPA and FDA on how and when to apply farm chemicals. You can find more information at http://www.aicr.org/site/DocServer/FPC-E7B-FSPW.pdf
How much ethanol will one bushel of corn produce?
One bushel of corn produces 2.8 gallons of ethanol in addition to several valuable food and feed co-products. Using only the starch from the corn kernel, the production process results in vitamins, protein, corn oil fiber and other by-products that can be used for food, feed and industrial use.
Ethanol can also be used in several forms to meet the needs of our transportation. A 10% blend of ethanol with gasoline is the most widely available blend. More than 90% of our national gasoline contains 10% ethanol. In Illinois over 95% of our gasoline contains 10% ethanol. E85, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, makes an excellent environmentally friendly fuel. Ethanol’s desirable characteristics (higher octane, cleaner burning, less carcinogenic) assure its viability even as new engine technology is developed.
I’m not sure if high fructose corn syrup is good or bad for me. Can you tell me more?
High fructose corn syrup, or HFCS, is simply the naturally occurring sugar in the corn kernel, pulled out and used as a sweetener in processed foods. By comparison, table sugar is the naturally occurring sugar in the sugar cane plant, pulled out and processed into the sugar that you recognize.
Studies show that your body processed HFCS and table sugar exactly the same and that HFCS doesn’t contribute to obesity any more than any other sugar does.
Do you have a question that you’d like to ask an Illlinois farmer? Comment here to raise your question or visit www.watchusgrow.org to ask. Remember, there are no stupid questions! Illinois farmers want you to understand that they are responsible and careful stewards of the land and the food that they produce.