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Commodity Corn

Learn the pros and cons of commodity corn!

Commodity corn: you might have heard this before. Commodity corn is a very important part of the United States, although it has nothing to do with gardening. Let's start with the kernel. The kernel of some commodity corn isn't like sweet corn. First of all, it's almost always collected when it's hard. Second, if you soaked it until it was soft, it defiantly would not taste like regular corn. Third, it uses a lot more nitrogen than regular corn. And last, it's normally grown with genetically engineered kernels.

It would probably be useless explaining how to grow it; the way you do regularly, 1 1/2 inch deep, except first you put a lot of fertilizer in the soil. The most important part of commodity corn probably is in the meat industry, where animals (mostly cows) are fed commodity corn. First the cow is raised for 6 months eating grass. Then for a month, it's fattened up eating commodity corn, until it's almost dead, and then it's killed and sold. What's really wrong with that? Lots!

Even if you don't care about the animal, you still should be concerned. There are two important fats, Omega 3 fatty acids and Omega 6 fatty acids. You know that Omega 3 fatty acids is supposed to be really good for you. But really, there's a better reason for that. Omega 3 fatty acids and Omega 6 go together; you're supposed to eat a 1:1 ratio of Omega 3 and 6. So why eat lots of Omega 3?

Regular cows that eat grass have a 1:2 ratio of Omega 3 to 6. Then, you have too much Omega 6. Unfortunately, when you feed cows corn, they have somewhere around a 1:10 ratio! So...why don't we just buy beef that's not corn-fed? Well, if the package doesn't say "grass fed", and it doesn't cost a fortune, then it's corn fed. A problem with grass fed beef is, well, it's very expensive. For example, a grass fed steak might cost $40!

If you are tired of trading regular stocks, you can try trading corn, wheat, gold, or soybeans, which are all commodities. When you talk about corn, you are also talking about soybeans, because they are rotation crops. Trading corn is basically the same as trading a stock, except for it's trading an actual thing.

How do you trade corn? To start of, Farmer Fred has been growing commodity corn. He estimates he'll have 10,000 bushels of corn when he's done growing it. A bushel is about 64lbs., and right now, 5,000 bushels goes for about $500. So Farmer Fred decides that since the corn prices are up, he'll sell his future corn.

Mrs. Molly decides she wants to invest in some corn. So she buys some. Two days later, the price goes from $500 to $502. Mrs. Molly decides to sell the corn. Billy Bob's Breakfast is a company that makes cereal with commodity corn, so Billy Bob's buys that 5,000 bushels.

Corn is a very important player in ethanol. Right now, people have found out how to make ethanol out of corn. It's basically the same as making beer, but you purify it more. First, you turn all the cellulose and sucrose into glucose (different kinds of sugars). Then, you ferment it with yeast. Finally, you boil it with a sill, and it takes almost all the water and impurities away. The problem with this is, it makes corn a lot more expensive. Corn is used for food, too, and since you can profit a lot from it, a lot of people in other countries are burning forests to plant corn.

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