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Corn: A Kernel Of Destruction

Corn has become an inescapable additive to both edible and non-edible products. Every day, we are bombarded with corn derived products.

Sodas laden with corn-syrup, ketchup, tortillas, ice cream, candy – foods far from resembling the light golden kernels of freshly husked corn – are a constant source of corn and its most prevalent by-product, corn-syrup. The use of which has increased diabetes and obesity rates.

In addition, the majority of corn grown in the U.S. goes to feed livestock. But it doesn’t end with our diets. The excess of corn brought on by overproduction leaves the USDA scrambling for other avenues in which to dump the abundant supply.

A common example is the conversion of corn to ethanol for bio-fuels as well as its use in bio-plastics.

In their book, What We Leave Behind, Derrick Jensen and Aric McBay delve into the reality of bio-plastic. Despite their promising claims, bio-plastics are not sustainable solutions to packaging waste. They, too, are destined to degrade in landfills at sluggish durations; all the while releasing methane, a greenhouse gas several times more potent than CO2 emissions.

It doesn’t help that large-scale growers of corn, and other major selling crops like wheat, soybeans, cotton, and rice, receive a larger bulk of U.S. subsidies than small-scale farmers; with 90 percent going to larger farms.

As is often the case in the U.S., wealth is redistributed, with the wealthier few receiving more breaks than the majority who is in a greater need of aid. Within recent years, the largest, and undoubtedly wealthiest, 10 percent of subsidy recipients received 72 percent of all subsidy payments.

Due to the increased reliance on pesticides, farmers today are less knowledgeable about ecology. Many farmers are becoming specialists of sorts, whose expertise lies within the knowledge of only a few crops. The overuse of marginal farmland to grow the same crops is a good illustrator of this; one which leads to a lack of biodiversity and to the destruction of local habitats. The lack of crop rotation also causes significant soil damage.

Plants react to soil differently, each with their own nutritional needs, and in exchange affect the soil differently. Corn, for example, feeds heavily on soil nitrogen and phosphorus. By planting corn in the same spot year after year, the nitrogen and phosphorus levels are depleted. Continue to do so and you’ll end up with a serious case of soil degradation, which is already a problem in farmlands drenched in pesticide. Especially land catering exclusively to corn.

Corn requires the most pesticide use of any crop.

This has become problematic in the Midwestern corn-belt, where pesticide-contaminated water has spilled into the Mississippi river, descending to the Gulf of Mexico and ultimately killing thousands of species of marine life.

Corn Kernel issues

Image source: www.organiclifestylemagazine.com

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