Farms in this industry grow field corn, wheat, or rice crops and seeds. No major companies dominate the industry.
Demand is driven by government policies and trends in eating grains, meat, and corn-based sweeteners, such as high-fructose corn syrup. Ethanol use has also become a factor in recent years. The profitability of individual companies depends on maximizing crop yield and minimizing disease risk. Large companies have advantages in highly mechanized operations and access to the latest in genetically modified (GM) grains. Small operations can compete by specializing in organic or non-GM grains.
PRODUCTS, OPERATIONS & TECHNOLOGY
Major products include field corn (about 80% of revenue), wheat (15%), and rice (5%). Field corn is used primarily for livestock feed. Field corn also is used in industrial applications like biodegradable plastic; processed foods like breakfast cereal, salad dressing, margarine, soft drinks, and syrup; and ethanol production.