King Corn

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KingCorn

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KingCorn

Throughtwo best friends and graduates, the film speaks volumesabout the advancement of corn from the manufacture and ultimatelywhere it ends up. They decide to travel from Boston to Lowa to becomecorn farmers with the aim of discovering more about the staple foodcrop in their country. Through their expedition, they highlight therisen rate of corn production in America and how the governmentsupports it by providing adequate finance. They also spotlight theunhealthy corn substance in a large number of foods in grocery storesand the dematerializing of family farms. It raises several concernsin what contents are added to the corn to make it suitable for use incommercial foods and consumption by animals. The harmful transformedproduct poses serious health risks to human beings. What led to theincrease in corn production? Is it worth it? Could the narrator bemore right? The movie intuitively asks these questions.

Thisfilm argues about the effects that industrialization has brought tothe food consumed by the current generation. It also focuses on theeffects the chemicals added to these foods has on human health,lifespan and livestock. The government plays a critical role in theproduction and processing of corn. Over time, production of corn hasincreased and farmers have shifted from subsistence farming to largescale and commercial farming. Since the government finds corn a cheapcommodity which can easily be manipulated to a wide range ofproducts, it encourages its production. A demand is then created andthrough farmers adequate supplies are made. Corn has becomerelatively cheap and is being used economically. How? It canmanufacture a variety of foods from meat products to the sugar insodas. Corn farming is not as profitable but since the governmentpays farmers to produce it, well it presents an opportunity offinancial gain and economic growth[ CITATION And16 l 1033 ].As this cycle goes on, a vast produce is realized, the economyis maintained but a cost is paid. An imbalance in diet and excessconsumption of chemical sugars exposes people to diabetes, increasedobesity and a reduced lifespan. People either end up losing theirlives or seeking costly medical expertise to treat the ailments.Cheap in reality is expensive.

Scenesin the film illustrate how transition and mechanization has degradedfood quality. Negligible profit is realized when farmers grow andsell corn since the have to invest in fertilizer and herbicides whichreduce their chances to maximize profits. The government intervenesand pays farmers 28$ and other subsidies for an acre of corn planted.Seeds are also genetically modified to withstand herbicides. Theseseeds produce inedible corn which has to be processed to be eaten.The two friends find its taste awful and the farmer tells them thatit is raw material for other processes. The corn is fed to animals toincrease meat production, turned to ethanol, and through theestablished industry of corn sweetening corn syrup with highfructose is produced. In Colorado, Cheney and Ellis discover thatcorn is used as the primary meal for cattle. Since the corn sickensthe cattle, a small quantity of antibiotics is added to enable thelivestock to combat the acid levels that the feed inflicts on them.This results to a more obese than muscular animal. Hamburgers aremost Americans’ favorite. This meat contains 65% fat. A fast foodlike McDonalds presents all its food in form of corn. The syrupsweeteners have high fructose levels which are soon able to sweetenbeverages. Soda is described as liquid candy[ CITATION Cur07 l 1033 ].This is among the main contributors of the increased diabetes andobesity rates among people.

Withfarmers focusing more on financial gain and the government wanting tocheaply manufacture food, the equation balances out. The plant ismodified for cheap overproduction hence more yield than nutrient. Thecorn has to undergo chemical alterations for it to be edible[ CITATION And16 l 1033 ]. To manufacture meat over a short time, the livestock consume thecorn as a primary feed. By eating the corn, cattle are exposed todeath from acidity. This is curbed through adding antibiotics toreduce the acidity risk[ CITATION Cur07 l 1033 ].These antibiotics together with the modification done to alter thefeed promote more growth of animal fat than muscles. It is a win/winsituation for the farmers and the government. What happens to thepeople who consume the end products? They risk suffering from chronicdiseases and their nutritional gain is reduced[ CITATION Cur07 l 1033 ].The increased cases of diabetes and obesity can be attributed to theconsumption of corn products. Without realizing it, the government issubjecting people to disease and reduced lifespan. The economy willbe more injured by the expensive medical care used to treat thedisease and the manufacturing of cheap food will be pointless. Peopledo not realize that they ingest more corn than they could think of.They feed to satisfaction without a potential nutritional gain.

Themost captivating interviews involve the two friends, Mr. Butz and thefarmers. They interview Mr. Earl Butz in a retirement home. From him,they find out that corn farming is now a commercial activity. WhenMr. Butz was a child, farming was a family operation. The governmentthen paid them not to produce corn but overtime the system was ruledout. He adds that currently feeding is cheap as compared to hisyouthful days[ CITATION Cur07 l 1033 ].They also interview a corn farmer. From him, they discover that fromapproximately 30-40 years ago, industrialized corn is the main typeof corn grown. This corn type was modified to withstand herbicidesand tolerate close growth with one end goal inmind, increased yield. They become knowledgeable of the feedlotmethod used for cattle where they are fed primarily from corn. Theylearn that small farms are being substituted for large ones andcurrently the produce is four times as much as compared to the timeof their grandparents[ CITATION Cur07 l 1033 ].Theseinterviews present the fact that nutritional value is beingsacrificed for monetary value and subsidy of happy meals is morevaluable than the subsidy of healthy ones. The superb soundtracks andthe delightful animations employed blend well to accomplish thefilm’s intention.

Thefilm uses young characters as its main to capture the attention ofyoung adults. It carefully and tactfully approaches politics andconveys it in a soft spoken manner. Humor and everyday language isincorporated to engage its audience. General and personal opinions ofpeople in the industry spoken of are handled judiciously and bringout no bias. It carefully relays disparate views. It is surprisinghow it covers ground that has already been wandered through butbrings it out differently. Unlike others similar to it, it does notshock, scare, pose a specific agenda or directly make realitysuperior but it instead makes the film explorative and easy to relateto. Scenes in the film promoting use of drugs are its weak pointssince it is constructed to attract young adults. The main charactersare shown drinking alcohol in a pool bar, they seem to be encouragingthe use of alcoholic substances.

References

Aaron Wolf, C. E. (Producer), Aaron Wolf, C. E. (Writer), &amp Woolf, A. (Director). (2007). King Corn [Motion Picture]. United States.

Pelleschi, A. (2016). Inside the corn industry (1st ed.). North Carolina: Minneapolis, Minnesota : Essential Library, an imprint of Abdo Publishing, [2017].

King Corn

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KingCorn

KingCorn documentary is one of the most moving documentaries thatconcentrate on the relationship between corn and two friends. Thedocumentary also details the corn history in contemporary America andthat changes that have taken place for more than thirty years (GreatWhite7, 2013). is a moving and humorous documentary thatfeatures two friends namely Curtis Ellis and Ian Cheney who made adecision to cultivate corn and follow up its fate. The two friendswith the assistance of a professor carried out a laboratoryexperiment and found that the body contains carbon that ispredominantly derived from corn. They decide to go to Greene which islocated in Iowa, to cultivate one acre of the crop (Great White7,2013). The corn grown is tasteless, starchy and modified geneticallyand has been primarily produced for processing. This type of corn isdifferent from the corn that has been cultivated in the past that hadmore protein and thus had more nutritional and valuable. Corn isprocessed mainly for livestock feed and corn syrup which makes somefood products. Corn syrup is not only cheaper sugar substitute but ishighly processed and found in many products that are consumed on adaily basis. The product is then consumed in the form of sodas,juices, burgers and other products.

Improvementin technology especially in the 1970s changed many things (GreatWhite7, 2013). Consequently, family farms ceased to exist andmachinery has been used for all types of farms including smalls firmslike one acre cultivated by Ellis and Cheney. The program is notsustainable because all the time farmers undergo losses almost allthe time and thus always depend on the government to get subsidies tocover the losses. The reason for such changes is due to governmentpolicy of 1973 that was intended to revolutionize agriculture bycreating a system where large food would be produced (Great White7,2013). According to the interview, modern cattle are consuming 90%corn making them produce meat that has more fat contend that healthy.The animals become obese and consume antibiotics as a result ofnumerous complications that result from corn food that they consume. Production of this type of corn is not only cheap but efficient andthus farmers’ value profit without considering the impacts of theproduct to humans and animals.

Musclesfrom these animals have saturated fats which an interviewedindividual describe as fat disguised as meat (Great White7, 2013).Consuming corn products has led to lethal conditions such as diabetesand obesity that according to one interviewed person led to the deathof his father, mother and his sister. The same interviewed mandemonstrated the changes that he has undergone after ceasing fromconsuming soda that is said to be saturated with sugars directlyderived from corn. The corn produced also contains less proteincontent compared to previous corn that originated from Mexico thatcontained a huge amount of protein. Correspondingly, the system doesnot encourage small scale production because the more you produce,the higher the subsidy (Great White7, 2013). According to Butz whowas interviewed in the documentary, the aim of the initiative was toproduce cheaper food to the American people. Essentially, modernfamilies spend about 16% of the budget in food, unlike the past whereabout 90% of the budget went to food. They argument is that thoughthere have been tremendous changes in agriculture and that the changeis not meant to make the society better than it used to be (GreatWhite7, 2013). A lot of grains produced is used to feed cattle thatare later used as a source of beef.

Theinformation given has not adequately supported the argument becauseof various factors. Although Ellis and Cheney interviewed manyindividuals who are either involved in the production of corn or haveknowledge in processing, they did not get the chance to interview thepeople from processing plants (Great White7, 2013). Food substanceslike soda, juices, burgers, meat and other food substances wereassociated with sugars from corn, but there is no clear and undoubtedevidence linking them to these sugars. Some primary method of tastingand simple home processing was carried out by Curtis Ellis and IanCheney, but these methods were not enough to verify the presence ofthe huge quantity of sugars alleged to be found in corn. The argumenthas been supported by many interviews and especially on the changesthat have occurred over time, but there is still need for morescientific experiments and data to support the information giventhrough interviews (Great White7, 2013). Accordingly, the argumentmay be believed because it will require more experiments especiallyon the analysis of the level of sugar content, fat content and itsdirect relationship with the fatal conditions like obesity anddiabetes.

Ellisand Cheney interviewed Butz, a former secretary of agriculture whogives evidence that small-scale farmers were forced out of thesustainable agriculture when large scale production began. They alsointerviewed Bruce who had returned to farming after the long absenceto leap the great profit from what he called Iowan gold (GreatWhite7, 2013). Farmers were also interviewed, and they openlydeclared that changes had occurred in corn production. One of thefarmers openly reported that they were growing “the lowest qualitycrap” meaning that such corn was not the best for them (GreatWhite7, 2013). Individuals from Sue and Dean Cattle ranchers based inColorado also give the evidence that confined cattle spend more timefeeding and thus are mostly sick. Allen Trenkle of Iowa Universitywas also interviewed and argued that animals are in dangers and dyingand asserted that feeding corn to cattle was not appropriate.

Somedata have been provided to support the research that was beingcarried out. For instance, one acre of land that they cultivatedconsumed $392 yet the products was to be sold for $373 leading to $19 loss (Great White7, 2013). The government also provides 28 dollarsas subsidy while Allen Trenkle asserted that corn feeding cowcontains nine grams of the saturated fat yet the cow feeding on glasscontains 1.5 grams of the same type of fat. They also indicated thattraditional farmers would produce 40 bushels while up to 180 bushelscan be produced with the current system (Great White7, 2013). Todemonstrating this practice, filming is done in large fatteningfacilities and other farms in Colorado. In these farms, cattle areconfined in particular areas where they are continuously fed and thusmaturing faster thus farmers make huge profits (Great White7, 2013).Before these changes, grass-eating cattle took several years todevelop, and thus modern methods seem more reliable and promising tofarmers.

Ellisand Cheney confirm that the message presented is real, by actuallyparticipating in growing crops and by dedicating their and resourcesin the research (Great White7, 2013). They also demonstrate some ofthe photographs of how things used to be when their greatgrandfathers were living and carrying out farming in Iowa. There isalso the use of simple graphs showing the increase in production ofcorn as well as simple and clearly understood diagrams thatdemonstrate the quantity of protein in grains both before and afterthe corn revolution in 1973 (Great White7, 2013). Graphicsdemonstrating color, distribution, origin and spreads of corn wasalso skillfully applied thus enhancing understanding. Moreover, thelanguage and the tone used are not harsh and thus encourage theviewer thereby increasing knowledge. It also demonstrates the factthat the information given is factual and reliable. The building suchas grain elevator that used to store grains for the community wasburned down during the filming exercise demonstrating that the oldsystem had no place in the contemporary society (Great White7, 2013).At the same time, large storage, industrial set up and machinery havebeen demonstrated which can store, process and cultivate large farmsrespectively. Similarly, the corn tested is bitter and not edibleunless processed.

Thefilm’s strongest point is the fact that the two researchers wereable to involve themselves fully especially participating in growingcorn and attempting to process through simple home techniques. Theyalso dedicated their time in and interviewed most of the people whowere involved in cultivating corn, using corn, concerned about cornproduction. The most surprising thing is that human hair containscorn (Great White7, 2013). However, there were some weaknesses inthat the research process did not provide evidence or account formost of the claims that were verbally made. A good example is thelack of actual scientific data especially on the relationship betweencorn produced and fats or sugars.

References

GreatWhite7, (2013 Mar 2). KingCorn.[VideoFile]Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GY3wBsncI2c&ampt=72s[Accessed 17 Mar. 2017].