While the increasing amount of corn used for ethanol production continues to make headlines, the Corn Marketing Program of Michigan remembers the industry that has long been, and still is, its number one customer: livestock. Corn farmers and livestock producers have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship since the very beginning of animal agriculture. Livestock and poultry producers have come to rely on the corn industry as a top source of high quality, nutritional feed. In turn, corn growers have long depended on the livestock and poultry sector as its top consuming customer. Though other corn markets such as ethanol continue to grow, livestock still remains the largest end user of the corn crop each year and Michigan corn farmers salute this vital industry.
With less than 2% of the country's population responsible for feeding more than 300 million Americans, U.S. farmers and ranchers are faced with the daunting task of supplying food for the masses. Each American farmer today feeds about 155 people worldwide – meat is part of this equation. While Michigan's nearly 12,000 corn farmers grow a 315 million bushel crop to be used for feed, fuel, fiber and food, Michigan's nearly 22,000 dairy, beef, pork and poultry farmers are providing an abundant, low-cost and safe source of protein for the nation. By supplying 39 percent of their corn crop to the livestock and poultry industries, corn farmers across the country are happy to know that their crop is contributing to help feed the world in more ways than one.
Michigan livestock producers provide us with a tasty and nutritious food supply that contributes $3.5 billion dollars to the state's economy each year. Twenty-two percent of the corn produced in Michigan currently goes to feed livestock, which is approximately 77 million bushels of corn per year. In addition to this, dried distillers grains (DDGs), a co-product of ethanol production, have proven to be a healthy, inexpensive and highly valuable feedstuff for the livestock sector. In the 2010-2011 marketing year, 1.65 billion pounds of DDG's were fed to the dairy, pork, beef and poultry sectors for a total corn displacement of 21 million bushels making total livestock usage nearly 100 million bushels annually.
This important synergistic relationship between corn and livestock farmers has been acknowledged by the state's corn growers for many years. As an extremely valuable partner to the corn industry, the CMPM has invested heavily in research and sponsorship of livestock-related projects in an effort to advance and protect the interests of the number one consumer of corn. In the last six years alone, the CMPM has provided nearly $640,000 in total funding to livestock-related sponsorships and research. Sponsorships include funding of the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council, U.S Meat Export Federation, Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference and the Michigan Beef Expo, just to name a few. Research projects invested in by the CMPM that are especially valuable to livestock producers include:
- Consolidated Bioprocessing: A New Use for Corn as a Whole-Plant Cellulosic Bioenergy Feedstock
- MSU Corn Hybrid Testing Program: Purchase of a New Silage Harvester
- The Effects of Animal Waste and Tillage on Corn Based Crop Rotations from an Agronomic, Economic, and Environmental Viewpoint for Cash Crop, Livestock, and Dairy Businesses
- Effects of Feeding Distillers Grain on Hydrogen Sulfide Emissions
- Fiber Separation from Distillers Dried Grains with Solubles (DDGS) and Corn Meal to Increase their Nutritional Value
- NCGA-Livestock/Value-Added/Co-Products Program
- Corn Byproducts for Cattle: Performance, Food Safety & Meat Quality
- Grain Intake of Calves and Milk Production Potential
- Review of Distillers Grains for Feeding Dairy Cows
- Effects of Animal Waste & Tillage on Corn Based Crop Rotations
- Distillers Grains Research
- Treatment of Stored Swine Manure
"Michigan has a vigorous and diverse livestock and poultry industry that is highly involved with the crop sector" says Clark Gerstacker, CMPM president, National Corn Growers Association Corn Board member and corn grower from Midland. "Growers have long understood this unique and strong relationship and with the ever changing economic and political environment, we want our friends in the livestock industry to know we continue to support them and their efforts to feed the world."