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Some people will remember the old Hee Haw television show or maybe have seen some reruns. It was a show based on music and comedy. The humor was very “corny” but it made us all laugh about the imaginary place called “Cornfield County” especially to those of us who live among the cornfields. The word “corny” usually means something that is over used, trite, or a joke that makes you groan. Although we live in a time where everyone seems to be offended about something. We were not offended by the humor presented about rural people. Why? Because we can laugh at ourselves. Sometimes it’s fun to be “corny” but we know who we really are. Most of the people I know here in our rural community are folks who believe in loving God, family, country, being a good neighbor, and aren’t afraid of hard work. If that’s corny, then it is a good thing.
Rural Missouri, along with other rural states are called “The Bread Basket” for good reason. We live where the food is grown that feeds the whole country and some other countries too, as well as feeding livestock so how “corny” is that?
Right now it’s that exciting time of year in rural Missouri. The ice and snow are gone (we hope), the temperatures are rising, and farmers are beginning to move equipment as they begin preparing fields and planting crops.
The main crops that we see here in Northeast Missouri are corn, soybeans, and hay. According to an agriculture report that I saw, Missouri is the second leading state in the number of farms and in hay production. Although Iowa is number one in our nation for growing the most corn, we aren’t far behind. Missouri grew 463.4 million bushels of corn in 2020 so we are pretty corny in that respect.
Corn is the one crop that can be grown in all 50 states of America so it’s appropriate that the FFA (Future Farmers of America) emblem we see on the FFA student’s jackets is a cross section of an ear of corn. That emblem has been around since 1926. Corn is food for both humans and livestock as well as being used for many other purposes.
Just think of all the foods we enjoy such as corn on the cob (aka roastin’ ears), cornbread, cornflakes, and we use corn oil for cooking but there are many other uses for the corn we grow. Here are just a few:
1. Ethanol can be made from corn for fuel but corn derivatives are also used in some batteries in the form of bio-electricity. Cornstarch is often used as an electrical conductor.
2. Corn plastics are used in food containers, disposable dishware and even gift cards. These plastics are better for the environment because they are biodegradable.
3. Cornstarch is a common ingredient in many cosmetics, deodorants, and hand sanitizers.
4. Corn-based pellets can be used in pellet stoves to heat homes.
5. Many medications and vitamins contain corn products, particularly cornstarch. Cornstarch is used because it is a safe, natural, and easily digested by humans.
6. Corn is used to make textile products like the carpets that we walk on and also is found in colorings and dyes.
7. Glue and adhesives commonly contain cornmeal or cornstarch. Even that envelope you lick contains a cornstarch adhesive that becomes sticky when moistened.
• There is one silk for every kernel that grows on an ear of corn.
• Corn comes in various colors such as purple, green, red, and white but yellow is the most common.
• There can be anywhere from 500 to around 1,200 kernels per ear of corn and a typical ear contains 800 kernels in 16 rows.
• It is estimated that 25 percent of grocery items probably contain some form of corn product.
Next time you see a farmer, and there are many in our area, remember to be thankful for each one because they are feeding the world.
I’ll leave you now and maybe I’ll go make some popcorn, but first, I did want to tell you that I once went into a corn maze but I felt like I was being stalked. It was earie!
Now that’s corny!
Contributed by Pamela Perry Blaine