Where some of our food & fuel come from…

Our trip back to Minnesota brought us to Stan’s farm, once again. He has 1500 acres of corn and soybeans which he sells to Green Giant and other larger companies. The corn gets harvested, shucked, and dried in a large propane-fueled kernel drier which slowly draws out the moisture. Stan points out that this is an antiquated system, “I turn it on and let it run for 24 hours a day for three weeks straight.“ He harvests around 30 TONS of corn and soybeans a day during these three weeks. He also raises pigs for sale to familiar companies such as Hormel and Swift. Hmmm. Hormel, I think I have some of their meats in my fridge. Could be from this farm? We asked lots of questions about where the food goes and what final products they end up in, but Stan’s answer was brief. He grows it, they buy it, we use it.

Much of the area corn is being used to make fuel. We passed a few such ethanol plants while on the road. (We all commented on how it smelled like beer.) The use of corn for fuel is driving up corn prices which makes it difficult to purchase corn as feed (although one of the byproducts can be used as feed), but many farmers are involved in a coop in which they trade the goods they have for the ones they need with other area farmers. Stan uses soybean mash for protein and corn mash to feed his pigs. He makes good use of what he has, so he doesn’t have to go out and buy much feed.

Speaking of corn as alternative fuel, the process is being used more frequently than I had realized. Out East we talk about bio-diesel and solar power, here in the Mid West, they use corn and wind power. We’ve seen numerous windmills in action, something I find fascinatingly beautiful. There is also the choice at the pump to use 10% ethanol for 20 cents a gallon less. We’ve been purchasing gas (and lots of it, as you can imagine) for around $2.70 a gallon. Even as low as $2.60 at times. We’ve also hit it as high as $3.30 near Chicago. No wonder our food prices are climbing! Back to the alternative energy issue, it’s exciting to see this attempt at changing our fuel consumption source on such a grand scale.

Published in: on August 14, 2007 at 1:05 am  Comments (1)  

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    National Life Sentinel Group Board of Directors member, Dick Showalter, spotted you on the road near Sweetwater(?) Minnesota! He informed us at the SGF Board Meeting dinner/reception this past Monday, August 13th at the National Life Guest House. He thinks that what you are doing is great and supports NECI to the fullest! Way to go … need any company?

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