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News stories tagged with "corn"

The Future of Corn

You might think you know corn - as in corn tortillas, corn-flakes, corn-bread and so on. But do you really know corn? Like, did you know that our last harvest could be one of our biggest, or that most American corn is genetically modified? Shawn Allee reports experts want us to get re-acquainted with our biggest crop because we need to make huge decisions about its future.  Go to full article
Rachel and Macy Huntley and Kaeli Mace with their Halloween decorations.
Rachel and Macy Huntley and Kaeli Mace with their Halloween decorations.

Heard Up North: An Old-Fashioned Corn Harvester

Here's a family tradition that combines the harvest and Halloween seasons. Roger and Ann Huntley of Pierrepont own a mechanical corn harvester from the early 1900s, and it still works. They brought their granddaughters out to the cornfield to make corn bundles for Halloween decorations, and for today's Heard Up North.  Go to full article

Ethanol: running the well dry?

It's no surprise that the Corn Belt is the heart of the ethanol boom. Two main ingredients you need to make ethanol are corn and water. There's no shortage of corn of course, and in most places it's assumed there's also plenty of water. But as Rebecca Williams reports, even people in water-rich states are getting concerned about ethanol's thirst for groundwater.  Go to full article

GAO: biofuel distribution problems

U.S. energy policy may be headed in a new direction after a compromise vote in the Senate last week, toward renewable fuels and conservation. The Senate voted 65-27 to approve its bill Thursday night. The bill includes the first rise in gas mileage, or CAFE, standards in 20 years. It also would require a major increase in ethanol production, to at least 36 billion gallons annually by 2022, seven times what the industry produced last year. But the federal government has no comprehensive plan to deal with an expected increase in the production of biofuels. That's according to a new study from the Government Accountability Office. Dustin Dwyer reports that the lack of a plan has some real consequences.  Go to full article

Corn ethanol: farmland conservation takes a back seat

Federal farmland conservation program have saved water, soil and wildlife through simple set-asides. That's when farmers get paid to take some cropland out of production. It protects waterways and provides wildlife habitat. It makes sense for the soil, too. But, in the second of our two-part series on ethanol, Julie Grant reports that as demand for corn and soybeans for ethanol production grows, farmland conservation is taking a back seat.  Go to full article

Ethanol-cattle giant eyes St. Lawrence Co.

A bioenergy firm, Bion, that combines ethanol and beef production may want to build a plant in St. Lawrence County. As David Sommerstein reports, the facility would require at least 10,000 cows, making it the largest animal farm in the North Country.  Go to full article
Switchgrass, a native prairie grass, has remarkable biomass potential.
Switchgrass, a native prairie grass, has remarkable biomass potential.

The Biofuel Economy, part 3: switchgrass and solid fuel

Solid fuel isn't a sexy technology, but it's amazingly energy efficient. In fact there's really no comparison. The amount of energy you get burning corn in a corn stove, say, is way more than you'd get out of ethanol from the same corn. But the United States has always been a liquid fuel economy. Our infrastructure and our government subsidies reflect that. And so with alternative energy, liquid fuels like ethanol and biodiesel get a lot more attention. It's different in Europe. Now many farmers are looking across the Atlantic to find solutions for the North Country. Gregory Warner reports.  Go to full article
Bob's more than six feet tall, so the corn really is high...
Bob's more than six feet tall, so the corn really is high...

A Year on the Farm: The sound of corn growing

This year, David Sommerstein's spending time each month on one dairy farm to learn more about what farmers do every day. The series is called A Year on the Farm. Our willing farmer is Bob Andrews in the town of Fowler near Gouverneur. Last episode, David learned all about hay. The other big crop for dairy farmers is corn, and it's Bob Andrews' favorite. So today's edition of A Year on the Farm is an ode to corn.  Go to full article

A more efficient way to make ethanol?

The cost of oil is topping out near 70 dollars a barrel and the nation is sending billions of dollars to unstable foreign countries to get it. With that in mind, many Americans have begun to think about biofuels from domestic crops. Biofuels such as corn ethanol and soy diesel are the most popular right now. But researchers are looking into plants that don't require the fertilizers and pesticides those crops need. The GLRC's Richard Annal reports on one crop that could make ethanol much more efficiently.  Go to full article

Farmers Hope Summer Ends Dry

For the North Country's dairy farmers, summer is the time to grow nutritious feed to get the herd through the winter. And from the layperson's perspective, it looks like the cold and rain have stunted the crops. Yesterday, David Sommerstein went out to the cornfields of the Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County to find out how farmers are faring. He spoke with agronomist Pete Barney, who says it's been a challenge.  Go to full article

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