Take a tour of Whiskey Acres in DeKalb. You’ll see how two local farm families are turning some of their best homegrown Illinois corn into award-winning whiskey – while caring for the land and protecting our natural resources.
You probably know corn best when biting into a juicy cob of sweet corn, or tossing a perfectly salted piece of popcorn into your mouth. But the corn we grow is much more than that. Follow along as we show you the surprising things a simple corn kernel can do.
Ethanol is a renewable fuel source made from corn and other grains. Greenhouse gas reduction in 2015 due to ethanol was 41.2 million metric tons – the equivalent of removing 8.7 million cars from the road.
Cornstarch is used as a binder to help products like chalk and crayons hold together better when in use.
Repositioning wallpaper is possible because wallpaper paste is made with cornstarch modified to slow down adhesive action.
Most campfires wouldn’t be the same without s’mores, and s’mores wouldn’t be the same without corn!
Marshmallows stay fresh longer because corn syrup keeps them from drying out.
In the early 2000s, Goodyear rolled out tires using a cornstarch-based filler material instead of oil-based rubber, resulting in less fuel and energy consumption in the production process.
Candy makers began using corn syrup in lollipops and other hard candies generations ago because the syrups hold moisture and prevent drips.
The dextrose (sugar) that is taken from corn is used to create a fiber that can make a wide range of products, including clothing, pillows and blankets.
Corn and tortilla chips make up 20% of the snack foods we eat. Plus, other snacks rely on corn ingredients to provide their crunch.
Just like you probably follow the 3 R’s in your home – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – many farmers are applying those same philosophies with a “closed-loop system" to make sure the farm can be passed to future generations.
From about April to October, farmers spend time nurturing their crop. Modern technology helps farmers better protect the environment by reducing fertilizer and pesticide application. In fact, 1 pound of applied nitrogen now produces 22 more pounds of grain than 40 years ago.
When the crop is harvested it’s used in many different products, like ethanol, food ingredients and livestock feed. Corn and corn byproduct – dry distillers grains – are fed to pigs, cattle, chickens and turkeys.
Manure – a nutrient-rich animal byproduct – is applied to fields as a natural soil fertilizer to help grow a healthy, productive crop. And, the recycling of this naturally occurring product further reduces farmers’ needs for synthetic fertilizers.
It really is true: Illinois runs on homegrown corn. Beyond the corn-based products that line shelves at the grocery store, corn production supports the state of Illinois in a lot of other ways, too. Take a look.
In 2013, there were over 2.1 billion bushels of corn produced.
The annual contribution to the state's economy included more than $17.5 billion in output.
Illinois corn also is a big contributor to the diets of cattle, pigs and poultry. In 2013, 115 million bushels went to feeding livestock in Illinois.
The production and processing of corn employs nearly 100,000 people in the state of Illinois.
1.6 billion gallons of ethanol are produced annually in Illinois.
More than half of Illinois' corn production goes to the state's ethanol plants.
Corn grown in Illinois is used to produce 15% of the ethanol consumed in the U.S.