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[UIUC] MACS364: Food Networks - S2014

Anita Chan, Author

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B. For the info graphic I created, I set out to establish the huge impact of corn on Illinois’ economy.  I mentioned how Illinois’ weather and soil are ideal for growing crops like corn, and because of this, much of the land is dedicated to corn (and other food) growth. I also mentioned how corn makes up almost 30% of Illinois’ total exports. Corn brings in over 50% of revenue for all farm cash receipts. All of this information was found in Illinois Agriculture 2013’s article “Illinois Agriculture: An overview of the state’s diverse agriculture industry.” 

The impact of corn is clearly huge, and that’s why the drought of 2012 was so devastating to Illinois farmers. After reading the article “High & Dry: Drought of 2012 touches all agricultural sectors,” I knew that I wanted to make a line graph of the rise and fall of corn production surrounding the 2012 drought. I sought outside information that would make it easier to show change in the graph, so I consulted the 2013 USDA Crop Production Summary, an official report that the USDA publishes every year. 

C Marion Nestle would probably dislike my infographic. Because she is so concerned with the safety of the food we consume, she would not like my neglect of how the drought caused disease in many ears of corn. In the article “High & Dry,” The Department of Agriculture goes into more detail about the, “increase of alflatoxin, a mycotoxin produced by a fungus that can colonize on the corn kernels, causing ear rot.” The article goes on to talk about alflatoxin’s cancer-causing properties. I expressed this in a very small statement buried in my infographic by simply stating “disease in the plant was common.” Nestle would probably push me to elaborate on that aspect of the drought and what that means for consumers of the 2012 corn. 

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