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Farmers planting more corn this year

by 5m Editor
19 January 2007, at 11:22am

OHIO - Growing cotton is a family tradition on Webb Bozeman's farm in central Mississippi. But not this year.

Inspired by soaring demand for corn to feed the growing ethanol industry, Bozeman is joining a large number of farmers across the country who will plant corn instead of soybeans, wheat and cotton.

Some in the Midwest are ending their longtime practice of rotating plantings of soybeans one year and corn the next, opting to grow corn in consecutive years. Livestock farmers are turning pastures into cornfields.

"We have farmers half-joking about planting corn in their front yards," said Matt Roberts, an agricultural economist at Ohio State University. "A lot of farmers see this as an opportunity to have a very good year."

Prices for corn are up to $3.40 a bushel and projected to approach $4, reaching highs not seen in the last decade. At least 6 million to 8 million more acres of corn will be needed to supply ethanol plants, analysts say.

Ethanol production is expected to double as new plants are being built to turn corn into the gasoline additive, from around 5 billion gallons now to 11 billion gallons, according to industry estimates.

Private investments in ethanol plants have soared in the last year as government leaders have called for more production of renewable fuels.

Corn prices are so high, though, that it will cost chicken and pork producers more to feed their animals, and that could end up increasing prices at grocery stores.

Source: Belleville News-Democrat

5m Editor