Monday, August 23, 2010

Corny But Sweet Sales Pitch

Posted By on Mon, Aug 23, 2010 at 5:48 PM

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Though not a slave to financial reports, I'm always interested and prepared to react to market changes. When I learn that demand for a particular product is on the rise and likely to continue its upward trajectory, I feel like it makes sense to buy now, while it's still affordable.

Today's lesson in agricultural commodities revolved around corn. A simple, sweet emblem of summer, grilled corn-on-the-cob is something I wish I could reasonably enjoy year-round. As I was pedaling home from a foothills ride, I found my enterprising young neighbors offering the following bargain-while-it-lasts: six ears for $3 or 12 ears for $6. Extrapolating from there, one could presumably purchase 18 ears for $9, but that's not the point.

Although there wasn't a volume discount, a quick web search unveiled a Bloomberg report indicating that demand for corn exports from the United States is on the rise, thanks in part to a hearty purchase from Egypt. Also, according to the Corn Market Review, a wet spring and field flooding could jeopardize total corn crop yield for this summer, which would also drive up prices. Furthermore, Wikinvest reminded me that most of the corn grown in this country is used to feed livestock or produce ethanol.

But corn is for human consumption, not for cows, which are ruminants and therefore not designed to consume grains. Also, corn should be eaten before it morphs into its highly processed evil cousin, high-fructose corn syrup. Read The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan.

That did it for me. It was time to buy, and in so doing, support the next generation of agricultural entrepreneurs and keep corn where it belongs: my human mouth.

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