Corn Farming Jobs

Walk into a grocery store and pick a product off of the shelf. There’s a very good chance that whatever you’re holding, from cookies to pasta to a bottle of juice, has a corn product as one of the ingredients.

Even most of the meats you could pick up came from animals that were fed with corn products, so they are corn-based as well. When you think of corn, you probably imagine the kernels that come in a can or maybe the cobs you can purchase in the summer, but most corn is actually processed and used to create products like high fructose corn syrup. On top of that, corn is needed for fuel products, so you can see why demand is so high. Over 80 million acres are planted with corn every year.

The government greatly subsidizes corn, which means that they pay farmers to grow it on top of what the farmers are paid for the finished product. So, growing corn is a good choice for most farmers. There are guaranteed a price for their crop, and don’t have to worry that the product won’t be sold due to low demand.

Few farms hire workers to just work with corn year-round, simply because there’s not enough work to keep people busy during the winter season and while the corn is growing. Instead, farms hire seasonal workers to help with planting and harvesting, or they hire workers who do other tasks during the year that are not related to growing corn.

That’s not to say that full-time agricultural jobs involving only growing corn don’t exist at all. Large farms often hire workers to oversee large areas of land, controlling all aspects of the growing process, from planting to irrigation to pest control. Working in one of these jobs is comparable to being a school teacher – you get a few months of very little work, but during other parts of the year, you’ll work well over 40 hours a week.

The ground is readied and corn seed is planted in the spring. During the growing season, the corn is irrigated as is necessary, and most farmers used pest control specifically made for the type of corn they are growing, which will kill weeds and control insects. When the corn is harvested depends on the type being produced. Typically, corn used for food as corn (like on the cob and in cans) is harvested first, followed by corn used for processed food products like corn syrup. Lastly, the corn used for animal feed, fuel, and other products is harvested.

Corn isn’t going away. If you’re interested in an agricultural job, understanding this crop can really increase your chances of finding a job. Because the government subsidizes corn farms, and because that is unlikely to change, so learning the ins and outs of corn farming is a good investment of your time. You can check out the Government’s Role in Farming page and the Agriculture Career Resources page for more information on subsidies.

Further Reading:

Corn Production
Characteristics and Production Costs of US Corn Farms
The Corn Grower’s Guidebook

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