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People starve while huge supplies of corn and soybeans accumulate.

Tom Bechman 1, Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

September 29, 2014

2 Min Read

Some seed companies and others inside agriculture predict average corn yields will hit 300 bushels per acre by 2030. Based on the past two years, it seems when weather cooperates we may be well on our way to making that prediction come true. Several topped 300 bushels per acre last year and there's no reason to think it won't happen again this year.

Those who say yields will rise to those levels also say we need it to feed a hungry world with an increasing world population, predicted to rise from 7 to 9 billion by 2050. The question becomes: "Can people consume it as fast as increasing yields meet the challenge of providing a bigger food supply?"


Related: Barren Stalks in a Corn Field Tell a Story

Based on what's happening this year, the answer may seem in doubt. Purdue University ag economist Michael Langemeier says carryover stocks for corn by next year will likely be two billion bushels. That's after a period with carryover stocks under a billion bushels followed by years with stocks somewhat above a billion bushels per year.

Increased carryover stocks mean lower corn and soybean prices.

So with people already starving around the world and more people on the way, why are stocks going up instead of down? Two years of good weather across most of the Corn Belt in the U.S. have contributed to more production. The predictions about increased average yields seem to be on target.

What's not on target is getting food to everyone who needs it. Socio-economic and political reasons get in the way. People will starve while your bins are full of corn and perhaps soybeans this winter.

Related: Indiana Corn Looking for Applicants for National New Leaders Program

Growing it is one thing. Having a market system and a political environment that gets food to where it's needed is another.

At the moment the ability to produce more food seems to be outstripping a delivery system to get food where it's needed. The result is bins bulging with grain and plenty of supply. Technology advances would seem to be mounting up and turning into higher yields faster than politicians are solving problems to getting extra supply to where it needs to be at prices farmers can live with, not just given away for free.

About the Author(s)

Tom Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

Tom Bechman is an important cog in the Farm Progress machinery. In addition to serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer, Tom is nationally known for his coverage of Midwest agronomy, conservation, no-till farming, farm management, farm safety, high-tech farming and personal property tax relief. His byline appears monthly in many of the 18 state and regional farm magazines published by Farm Progress.

"I consider it my responsibility and opportunity as a farm magazine editor to supply useful information that will help today's farm families survive and thrive," the veteran editor says.

Tom graduated from Whiteland (Ind.) High School, earned his B.S. in animal science and agricultural education from Purdue University in 1975 and an M.S. in dairy nutrition two years later. He first joined the magazine as a field editor in 1981 after four years as a vocational agriculture teacher.

Tom enjoys interacting with farm families, university specialists and industry leaders, gathering and sifting through loads of information available in agriculture today. "Whenever I find a new idea or a new thought that could either improve someone's life or their income, I consider it a personal challenge to discover how to present it in the most useful form, " he says.

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