American farmers are harvesting another very good crop. Around here, soybeans were a bit disappointing, but corn yields made us smile. So why “Oops?” As is the case every year, we grow these large crops first and then we hope they will get used. You could say that is being optimistic. You could also say it’s not too smart.
The twin gods of Supply and Demand sit on high, and they decide whether we actually make any money from our bounteous crops. This year again, as Supply and Demand gaze down, they see surplus. If you are a user, you like surplus. If you are a producer, not so much.
Truth be told, a farmer would rather grow a big crop for a low price than a poor crop for a high price. It’s what we do, we grow things. The more we grow, the better we feel. You can see the problem here. We’re not growing for a market; we’re growing for a hoped-for-market.
The history of American agriculture has been primarily one of surplus production. Of course, that is a wonderful problem to have for our nation. The United States has not faced times of starvation that other countries have. Large production also means Americans spend less of our resources on food than any people in history. That means we can spend money on stuff like leaf blowers, tattoo removal, and enhanced water.
Bins are full, elevators are full, and corn is getting piled up around Midwest towns. There seems little chance price is going to rise. So, we farmers are turning to our friends in town for a little help here. If we all pitch in we can reduce this burdensome supply.
There are 52 million Minnesotans. Our state’s farmers just produced 1.3 billion bushels of corn. That’s 240 bushels for every Minnesotan, or approximately a semi-truck for each family. If you want to buy a semi of corn, that would be great. It’s pretty cheap right now, it won’t set you back much. You can get a semi of corn cheaper than a Samsung Electronics 82-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV. Really.
I understand a lot of you don’t have room for that much corn. (Although what are you really doing with that spare bedroom anyway?) But If everyone goes to their local elevator and buys just ten or twenty bushels of corn and soybeans, it would take the edge off the surplus.
You say, “Randy, I want to do my share to help farmers and bring profitability back into agriculture. But what am I going to do with my corn and soybeans once I bring them home?” We might have to be a little creative, but we can do this. Trust me. Or to quote our president, “Trust me. I’m like a smart person.”
First off, do you have a pet? Cats and dogs are okay as far as that goes. Have you thought of replacing them with a pet feeder pig or steer? Your new pet would be more than willing to eat your grain. I’m pretty sure a pig can be trained to use your cat’s old litter box. You’ll have to take your steer out for a walk a few times a day, but that’s good exercise.
There is a possible side benefit from having a pet pig or steer. You can eat them if are so inclined. I suppose you could eat your cat or dog, but there’s not really a lot of meat on one of those. As for home security, what burglar is going to want to mess with a 700-pound Angus?
Home décor might be another way to use your commodities. Most of us have been to Mitchell, South Dakota to see the Corn Palace. If Mitchell can have a Corn Palace, why can’t you have a Corn Room. Imagine your family’s delight as they gather in the Corn Room after a hard day at work and school. This could be a boon to our local economy as we will need a whole new set of interior corn designers and corn craftsmen.
A lot of us have a cornhole game out in the garage. That is already are using a certain amount of grain. Cornhole bags are typically filled with a pound of corn. Why so small? Imagine the increased strength-enhancing that would come from tossing 50-pound bags playing Mega Cornhole?
You would need to cut the holes larger for Mega Cornhole. You’ll also need to be careful not to hurt small children with the mega-bags. It’s still safer than Lawn Jarts. Did you know that in the eighties, 6,700 Americans were hospitalized from Lawn Jart injuries? I still have one of those steel-tipped, tools of death out in a shed. I keep it for self-defense.
I know a lot of creative cooks will seek ways to prepare their corn and soybeans for dinner. I remember as an FFA project, I convinced my mom to help me come up with an edible way to prepare soybeans. We boiled them, and then mixed them in a concoction like a chicken salad. It looked pretty good. Alas, it was awful. It was the only thing my mom ever made that I didn’t like.
But don’t let that discourage you. You can do a lot of things with corn. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, sauté it. There’s corn-kabobs, corn creole, corn gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple corn, lemon corn, coconut corn, pepper corn, corn soup, corn stew, corn salad, corn and potatoes, corn burger, corn sandwich. That’s about it.
Don’t forget that Christmas shopping season is nigh, and there are always those few relatives that are impossible to shop for. A gift of corn or soybeans might be the answer. A lot of our city cousins might not know what corn or soybeans are, but they will appreciate the opportunity to help reduce global feed grain ending stocks thereby raising prices and increasing my income. Tell them thanks!