Please submit a one-page, single-spaced essay that explains why you have chosen State University and your particular major sdepartment s or program s. State University and I possess a common vision.
Nothing dominates the American landscape like corn. You can drive from central Pennsylvania all the way to western Nebraska, a trip of nearly 1, miles, and witness it in all its glory.
No other American crop can match the sheer size of corn. So why do we, as a nation, grow so much corn? The main reason is that corn is such a productive and versatile cropresponding to investments in research, breeding and promotion.
It has incredibly high yields compared with most other U. Plus, it can be turned into a staggering array of products. Corn can be used for food as corn flour, cornmeal, hominy, grits or sweet corn.
It can be used as animal feed to help fatten our hogs, chickens and cattle.
And it can be turned into ethanolhigh-fructose corn syrup or even bio-based plastics. No wonder we grow so much of the stuff. But it is important to distinguish corn the crop from corn the system. As a crop, corn is highly productive, flexible and successful.
It has been a pillar of American agriculture for decades, and there is no doubt that it will be a crucial part of American agriculture in the future. However, many are beginning to question corn as a system: The current corn system is not a good thing for America for four major reasons.
The American corn system is inefficient at feeding people. Most people would agree that the primary goal of agriculture should be feeding people. While other goals—especially producing income, creating jobs and fostering rural development—are critically important too, the ultimate success of any agricultural system should be measured in part by how well it delivers food to a growing population.
After all, feeding people is why agriculture exists in the first place. Much of the rest is exported. Only a tiny fraction of the national corn crop is directly used for food for Americans, much of that for high-fructose corn syrup.
Yes, the corn fed to animals does produce valuable food to people, mainly in the form of dairy and meat products, but only after suffering major losses of calories and protein along the way.
For corn-fed animals, the efficiency of converting grain to meat and dairy calories ranges from roughly 3 percent to 40 percent, depending on the animal production system in question.
What this all means is that little of the corn crop actually ends up feeding American people. The average Iowa cornfield has the potential to deliver more than 15 million calories per acre each year enough to sustain 14 people per acre, with a 3, calorie-per-day diet, if we ate all of the corn ourselvesbut with the current allocation of corn to ethanol and animal production, we end up with an estimated 3 million calories of food per acre per year, mainly as dairy and meat products, enough to sustain only three people per acre.
That is lower than the average delivery of food calories from farms in Bangladesh, Egypt and Vietnam. In short, the corn crop is highly productive, but the corn system is aligned to feed cars and animals instead of feeding people.
First and foremost, shifting corn away from biofuels would generate more food for the world, lower demand for grain, lessen commodity price pressures, and reduce the burden on consumers around the world.
Furthermore, eating less corn-fed meat, or shifting corn toward more efficient dairy, poultry, pork and grass-fed beef systems, would allow us to get more food from each bushel of corn.
And diversifying the Corn Belt into a wider mix of agricultural systems, including other crops and grass-fed animal operations, could produce substantially more food—and a more diverse and nutritious diet— than the current system. The corn system uses a large amount of natural resources.
And fertilizer use for corn is massive: The dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is the largest, and most iconic, example of this. And the resources devoted to growing corn are increasing dramatically.
Between andthe amount of cropland devoted to growing corn in America increased by more than 13 million acres, mainly in response to rising corn prices and the increasing demand for ethanol. Most of these new corn acres came from farms, including those that were growing wheat which lost 2. That leaves us with a less diverse American agricultural landscape, with even more land devoted to corn monocultures.
And according to a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, roughly 1. Looking at these land, water, fertilizer and soil costs together, you could argue that the corn system uses more natural resources than any other agricultural system in America, while providing only modest benefits in food.
Innovative farmers are exploring other methods for growing corn, including better conventional, organic, biotech and conservation farming methods that can dramatically reduce chemical inputs, water use, soil losses and impacts on wildlife. We should encourage American farmers to continue these improvements.
The corn system is highly vulnerable to shocks.Compelling stories, cutting-edge classical music, National Theater, literary events, comedy shows, film screenings and much more all at Symphony Space. See what's on, and pick up a ticket. The Man in the Water In the essay "The Man in the Water" by Roger Rosenblatt, the Man in the Water did something heroic that most other people probably would not do.
He and a great deal of other people were in a plane crash and landed in the Arctic Ocean. Rosenblatt, a contributing editor to the New Republic and Vanity Fair and a regular essayist for the MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour, skillfully draws out his interviewees, whether the person is a homeless w.
It’s Time to Rethink America’s Corn System. Only a tiny fraction of corn grown in the U.S. directly feeds the nation’s people, and much of that is from high-fructose corn syrup.
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