Douglas County Ag in the Classroom learned about corn this fall. Illinois farmers rank second in the country in corn production. Over 12,000,000 acres of field corn are planted each year in Illinois.
There are different types of corn. Field or dent corn is commonly grown in this area. This corn is used for livestock feed and processing. Flint corn is a colorful corn used for decorations in the fall. Sweet corn is the tasty corn harvested in summer for roasting ears.
There are over 4,000 uses for corn products. Corn can be processed into cornstarch and corn syrup. Cornstarch and corn syrup are found in baked goods, soda, ketchup, jelly, canned soup, margarine, and salad dressings.
Corn is used in everything from livestock feed to wallpaper, crayons, medicines, batteries, and cosmetics. Today, some brands of carpet, as well as the stuffing in pillows and bed comforters, are made from corn that has been spun like cotton.
Corn is processed into ethanol, a high-performance fuel. Ethanol is a renewable resource and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 40-50 percent when compared directly to gasoline.
Corn can be used to make biodegradable plastic. This can be in the form of disposable plates, cups, and packing peanuts. Corn plastic can be used in 3D printers.
Younger students made a colorful corn decoration. Older students made sculptures from corn starch packing peanuts and solved fun puzzles with an escape box.
Douglas County Ag in the Classroom is supported by Douglas County Farm Bureau, Douglas County Ag Center, and Illinois Ag in the Classroom.