Corn Contemplation in Iowa

Our day started off with an early interview at WORT radio in Madison. WORT is a community-sponsored radio station—the perfect venue to share our story with those listening in Madison about what we’ve been seeing and doing along our trip. Even more importantly, it was an opportunity to educate listeners in the area about the Department of Justice and USDA hearings that are happening this summer, for which we’ve been collecting petition signatures. If you haven’t yet, be sure to sign our petition!

After leaving our friends at WORT, we paid a visit to Senator Russ Feingold’s (D-WI) office to meet with his regional director. We asked if Senator Feingold—typically very supportive of small farmers—would co-sponsor the Senate Livestock Bill (S.1086), so that Wisconsin farmers can get a fair price for their food. We’ll find out soon enough if he will.
This was our last activity in Wisconsin. Now, it was time for the long drive to the number one producer of corn and soybeans, and the home of the Winnebago: Iowa. (Fun fact: As a state, Iowa had the second highest average SAT score in the nation in 2003.) I have never seen so much corn in my life. I looked out the car for an hour and there was corn for miles. At one point, I fell asleep for a while. When I woke up, there was still corn for miles. This gave me some time to do some serious thinking about corn.

A lot of people talk about corn and how it is a huge problem in our agricultural system. We have corn syrup, corn feed for livestock, and corn in almost everything we consume. The problem isn’t that small and medium-sized farmers try to make a living by growing what they can sell; it’s that farmers around the country are stuck producing and selling what the few large corporate agribusinesses will buy – and that often means corn bought at a price so low that it isn’t fair for those who produce it. This problem is directly connected to the changes we are advocating for in our nation’s farming policy. Specifically, huge corporate agribusinesses have been in control of the market for too long, and the problem is only getting worse.

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