To the editor:
George F. Will’s column attacking corn was surprising for two reasons. In the first place, Will ignores the role personal lifestyle choices and personal responsibility play in obesity — a role much more significant than one particular food ingredient.
In fact, while per capita consumption of high fructose corn syrup is actually on the decline, obesity and diabetes rates are rising. And obesity rates are rising around the world, including in Mexico, Australia and Europe, places where the use of high fructose corn syrup is limited. Per capita red meat consumption has done nothing but go down since 1996.
Second, farmers are growing much more corn with less fertilizer and pesticide use. Nitrogen use per bushel, for example, dropped 38 percent between 1980 and 2005. And whether it is pounds per acre or pounds per bushel, the use of pesticides has dropped significantly since 1990. A new report from the Keystone Center likewise has found reductions in key environmental impacts. The energy needed to produce a bushel of corn, for example, dropped 37 percent between 1987-2007.
Farmers are the original ecologists. We pride ourselves on finding innovative ways to grow enough food to sustainably meet all needs. We are proud of our work and happy to know we are helping provide plentiful and inexpensive food.