Dear Editor:

The leaves are changing colors. Summer’s heat and humidity are giving way to cool autumn breezes. This is the best time for hog roasts, bon fires and s’mores. This is a wonderful time of year, especially for farmers. It is definitely a busy time of year, and harvest season is when we get to see the results of our labor through the spring and summer.

And we know how to grow corn and soybeans. Indiana is the fourth-largest producer of U.S. soybeans and the fifth-largest producer of U.S. corn. We’ve accomplished this despite planting fewer acres than many of the other top-producing states on the list. With all of this production, the next question is: Where does it all get used?

We’re fortunate that much of the crop in Indiana is consumed in Indiana. While people first think of corn as sweet corn, we actually grow mostly field corn or dent corn in Indiana. Most of our corn and soybean crops are used to feed hogs, poultry, dairy cattle, beef cattle and other livestock on Hoosier farms.

In addition to livestock feed, nearly half of the state’s corn is processed in one of the state’s 14 ethanol-production facilities, which gets burned as fuel in Hoosier’s cars (some of it even goes to power Indy cars!).

Despite all of this consumption, we still need to move large piles of soybeans and corn to new places. That’s where the Indiana Corn Marketing Council (our state’s corn checkoff) and the Indiana Soybean Alliance (our state’s soybean checkoff) add their expertise. The checkoffs are funded, invested and managed by Indiana farmers to assist them in making their crops more valuable.

This is done in a variety of ways that also bring economic value back to the community. The checkoffs fund innovative new uses for these crops, such as PoreShield, a soybean-based concrete durability enhancer that is lengthening the life of our state’s roads and bridges.

The No. 1 job of the checkoffs is to move the state’s corn and soybeans to export markets around the world. Our checkoffs’ network of connections around the world is working to find new customers who want our soybeans and corn.

Organizations such as the U.S. Soybean Export Council, the U.S. Grains Council, the U.S. Meat Export Federation and the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council have offices in most of the countries around the world promoting our crops to end-users who need them. Having a daily connection in-country with these customers increases the value of the crops of Indiana’s farmers – fulfilling the checkoff’s mission.

So, enjoy the season, be patient with farm equipment on the road, and know that as those crops are being harvested, Indiana’s economy is growing stronger.

Tim Gauck


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