The USA is ‘king of corn’; but for how long?

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Across the plains of America known as the Corn Belt, farmers are spending their days and nights nurturing, tending to and praying for the wellbeing of this common yet globally significant food.

Scott Haerr, who harvests 4,000 acres of corn every year (an area nearly five-times the size of New York’s Central Park), is one. Inside a massive grain silo on his farm in western Ohio, the third-generation farmer examines corn kernels from last year’s harvest. “That’s some real good corn,” he says, sifting through a handful.

But while the quality of last year’s harvest may have been good, the quantity produced by US farmers was anything but.

Rising fertiliser and fuel prices saw the number of acres planted fall by 3.4m compared to 2021. On top of that, a drought in the western plains fuelled an increase in the price of US corn on the international market.

American farmers’ hard work and technological expertise has cemented its place at the top of the pile when it comes to corn exports. Every year, tens of millions of tonnes are shipped from the US to more than 60 countries around the globe.

But its corn superpower status may be coming to an end. In fact, after decades at the top, it is on the verge of being overtaken as the world’s biggest exporter of the crop.

Buyers in China – the world’s biggest importer of corn – have been cancelling orders from the US, in large part because there are cheaper alternatives elsewhere.

In January, sales of US corn to China were as much as 70% below previous years’ levels. And in May, China started buying South African corn for the first time. It is a troubling trend for US farmers.


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Chuck comes from a lineage of journalism. He has written for some of the webs most popular news sites. He enjoys spending time outdoors, bull riding, and collecting old vinyl records. Roll Tide!