In fact, 21% of Iowa farmland is owned by people who do not even live in Iowa. What is particularly rankling about these figures is that some 40% of that corn is grown to feed piston engines. This is a travesty especially now that gasoline is so cheap. Everyone I talk to except corn farmers themselves admits it. Ethanol from corn is not a sustainable process. It is not profitable without subsidies. But our leaders, neither Republican nor Democratic, have the moral fiber to oppose the corn kingdom because they believe that without all that corn, the farm economy of the midwest would collapse at least for awhile.

That is the history of corn kingdoms. The Mayan civilization was a corn kingdom and it collapsed. The Mississippi mound building culture was a corn culture and then it collapsed. Corn is such a wondrously productive crop that we can’t resist growing more and more of it, even on land not fit for row crop cultivation, until it destroys the diverse ecology that keeps nature thriving.

Gene Logsdon -- the Contrary Farmer -- is just so sensible. Not that most folks want to hear what he has to say. I took the liberty of linking to the photograph he talks about, by Tony Cenicola/The New York Times, so you can read his article with an inkling of what he was looking at.

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