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Like the apple, the tulip and the potato, corn has evolved with mankind over the past 10,000 years. Through these years, corn has gratified many human needs to an extent of it dominating agricultural and industrial markets. It is known that corn produces food and fuel for human use (Corn). In exchange of its gratification of human needs, mankind has expanded its habitat by remaking farms and moving its genes all over the world. Despite the fact that corn has fulfilled many human needs, the mass production of the crop has had many environmental and economical effects. This research proposal will highlight both the environmental and economical effects of mass production of corn and how to curb these problems.
Corn production heavily relies on intensive application of insecticides, fertilizer, and herbicides (Ackerman et al., 2003). Although these chemicals enhance corn’s agricultural productivity, they also impact the environment by reducing biodiversity. Excessive application of fertilizer and pesticides often lead to soil, air and water pollution. These pollutants not only affect human health but also destroy the natural environment as well as kill other living organisms (the issues). For example, runoff of excess phosphate and nitrogen fertilizer contaminates surface and groundwater supplies by causing algal growth which inhibits hypoxia, thus making it difficult for marine and wildlife to survive (Ackerman et al., 2003 ).
Apart from air, water and soil pollution, mass production of corn has compelled farmers and corn cultivating firms to clear more land to make room for the cultivation of more corn and irrigate land in dry land where irrigation is required. Well-publicized problem of land clearance is deforestation. On the other hand, irrigation leads to increased water use for the cultivation of corn in dry areas. Ackerman et al. (2003) contend that increased water consumption has led to the unsustainable rate of withdrawal from Aquifer and Ogallala and disagreements over the overuse and scarcity of water from western rivers. On the other hand, the Great Lakes Commission for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Ohio River Division (2007) contend that increased corn production leads to adverse changes in the agricultural landscape such sedimentation and soil erosion, which result from tillage practices.
Increased corn production impacts America’s economy in many ways. For example, mass production of corn has led to massive changes in food and fuel costs. It is asserted that an increase in the production of ethanol (fuel extracted from corn) has led to an increase in corn prices from $2 per bushel in 2005 to over $3 in 2007, with prices expected to increase further in the coming years. In the article Economics Problems (2011) it is asserted that mass production has led to the scarcity of other resources, particularly the conversion of other croplands to corn. For instance, the National Agriculture Statistics Services has voiced its concern over the nationwide decrease in the acreage awarded to cultivation of other food crops such as soybeans
Solutions and Recommendations
As responsible stewards for the environment, farmers and mass producers of corn are called upon to avoid using chemical substances and pesticides; instead, they should natural means in corn cultivation. For instance, they should rely on natural predators such as birds and wasps in pest control (The Issues, nd). On the same note, they should use natural fertilizers, such as dung when cultivating corn. This solution will work because it has been practiced in other places and it has been successful. This solution is better because it is harmless to the environment and its habitats. In regards to rising fuel and food costs, people should use other fuel alternatives such as wind and solar, which are not only affordable, but also environmental friendly. Unlike using corn in the production of energy, using wing and solar energy is better because it is affordable and environmental friendly. Mass producers of corn should act now before the environment is degraded to a disastrous condition. Failure to act now will lead to the extinction of all living things, including human beings as a result of the effects of mass production of corn.