On October 12, 2016, farmers from the Iowa State University Corn Belt Community Supported Agriculture (CSCA) plant began growing maize fiber for their own food.
Their maize seed was selected by the Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the program.
“The seed was the first corn seed ever produced by CSCA,” said Mark DeLuca, president and CEO of CSCA.
“It was one of our first investments in the growing process.”
The crop has a high protein content that makes it a great choice for people looking to boost their protein intake.
However, this high protein profile has a downside.
“A lot of people aren’t aware that corn seed contains a lot of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides,” DeLucas said.
“People may think that corn is the same as soybeans, but it’s not.
It’s grown with different chemicals.”
“It’s not what we want for our food,” said Chris Williams, the president of the CSCA’s Agricultural Marketing and Marketing Operations.
“We’re hoping that by the time this program ends, we’ll have an understanding of what we’re going to do next.”
A corn seed grown for corn.
The CSCA is using a combination of hybrid seed from Iowa and corn from Nebraska.
The hybrid seed is grown on a different kind of corn, and the corn is harvested at a different time of year, so the CSMA team can harvest corn at different times of the year.
“Our goal is to have a mix of corn varieties that will be suited to different times and seasons,” De Luca said.
The program has a number of advantages over other corn seed programs.
The first corn plant is harvested in mid-November, meaning farmers can harvest their corn seed in the fall before the harvest.
“With corn, the seed is harvested a month earlier than soybeans or cotton seeds,” Williams said.
Another advantage is that corn does not have to be genetically modified to be certified organic.
The corn seed is biodegradable, and corn farmers can use this technology to save money by having the seeds grown on more organic fields.
The other advantage is the corn seed can be grown indoors in warm climates.
“Because corn is grown in warm weather, the plant can be stored indoors for months or years, and that means it can stay healthy longer,” Williams added.
“That means it’s better for the environment, the soil, and our soil and the plants.”
Another advantage of the corn program is the fact that the corn can be harvested at different time intervals.
“If we’re planting in the summer, we can harvest early and harvest late,” Williams explained.
“Or if we’re growing in the winter, we harvest early.”
The CSMA program is still in its early stages, but Williams said he thinks it’s the most effective way to help farmers grow their own corn.
“Corn is such a valuable crop that if we could help farmers make their own choices, we could do a lot to help our food system,” he said.
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