Professor Scarecrow Corn

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Vocabulary Quiz


One of North Carolina's many commodities is corn. Many farmers who grow corn belong to the North Carolina Corn Growers Association. There are many varieties of field corn and garden corn is basically yellow and white.

ear of corn stalks of corn

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Corn is native to North Carolina. The settlers discovered Native Americans already growing corn when they came to America. It's unknown how corn originally came to North Carolina, but settlers discovered corn growing in different sections of North Carolina.

Corn is used in many different ways. Corn and its by products are used in animal feeds, cornstarch, corn oil, corn sweeteners, and ethanol. Originally corn was grown for animal's to eat or to be ground into corn meal which was used for food products. But as technology advanced in the uses of corn have changed and increased such as the use of corn in sweeteners, high frutose corn syrup and oils.

Because of the many uses of corn, people are using more and more of it in the United States and around the world. The demand to ship or export corn overseas to foreign countries is increasing. More companies are turning to corn products for industry because of its many uses. Scientists called genetic engineers are developing new types of corn that can withstand different types of environments so that production capabilities are increased.

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Most of the corn grown in North Carolina is grown in the Coastal Plains. Corn can be grown in other regions of the state, but the rich soil found in the Coastal Plains is ideal for growing corn. Corn begins its growing season in April to late August and early September.

Corn needs the temperatures to be not too hot or too cold, but moderate during pollination period. Corn also needs plenty of moisture and full sun to grow in the best possible conditions. Soil that has high organic matter helps to hold or retain water longer so that it is the best type of dirt to grow corn in.

In order for corn to be ready in August or September, it is planted in April to early May. Depending on the soil temperature and moisture, sprouts usually appear above ground in about seven to ten days. Once the corn is planted, it usually takes about 185 days before it is ready to be harvested or taken from the fields. Once taken from the fields corn can be stored on the farm in grain bins or sold to processors who will turn the corn into other products like syrups and cornstarch.

When corn is harvested, farmers use a special piece of equipment called a grain combine. Before grain combines, the corn ear was pulled by hand and carried to a corn sheller. During the production process of corn, pesticides are used to prevent damage. Herbicides are used to control grass weeds and insecticides are used to control insects.

There is not an inspection that corn must go through before it is packaged or sold. When inspection is necessary state officials from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services inspect the corn using United States Department of Agriculture standards. When corn is graded not every piece of corn is looked at. A representative sample is obtained from the truck where the corn is stored and it is graded. Corn is a type of grain and grain standards are set according to weight, foreign material and damage.

Harvesting Corn
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Once corn is graded, it is ready to be shipped off the farm. Corn is shipped from the farm in trucks and trains. A long time ago, most farmers grew only enough corn for them to use for feeding their animals or families. If any corn was then left over they then put it into a horse and buggy and took it to the local grist mill. This mill would then grind the corn up to make animal feed or corn flours.

Most corn in North Carolina is used for animal feed. Some farmers drive the corn straight from the farm to a grist mill where it is then turned into feed. Some farmers take their corn to a corn buyer who buys corn from lots of farmers and stores it. Once the buyer has a lot of corn, he or she then sells it in bigger quanitities to the mills.

North Carolina doesn't grow as much corn as it needs. There are so many hog farms and poultry farms in North Carolina that a lot of corn is needed to feed the animals. North Carolina doesn't grow enough to feed all the animals that need it in-state. To make up the difference, North Carolina must buy corn from other states.

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Though most of our corn is used to feed the animals, it is still a popular dish for people. Corn is a vegetable and everyone should eat between three to five servings of vegetables a day. Corn is a good for eating because it is a high carbohydrate vegetable which means that it helps in giving you energy. It is also fat-free, cholesterol-free and low in calories so it is a healthy eating choice. Make sure to check your local supermarket for great North Carolina corn during season. And remember Goodness Grows In North Carolina!!

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1. pollination period: the time when the fine, powder-like material produced by plants (called pollen)
       is taken from one plant to another
2. ethanol: alcohol
3. organic matter: particles in the soil such as fertilizers or mulch that has no chemicals or man-made materials

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