Baxter Black: On the Edge of Common Sense 3-7-11
March 7, 2011
NASCAR has announced an agreement with the National Corn Growers Association to begin using Ethanol 15, a greener fuel, manufactured from corn. Al Gore has just announced that ethanol for use in cars was not as good an idea as he thought. He must have bought some BP stock!
It’s great news for corn growers, although it’s worse news for cattle feeders. But that is an old seesaw. Right now the world is completely upside down, as the price of corn is rising, so is beef! We’ve always assumed that congressmen sat around manipulating world disasters to insure that agriculture remained dependent on government.
In truth the actual quantity of corn usage in NASCAR races will have no real impact on the availability of corn to livestock feeders, but is an endorsement of ethanol. Instead of movie stars wiping their lips and saying “Got Milk?” Jimmy Johnson and Carl Edwards will be photographed topping off their tanks saying, “Got Corn?”
There is another, more subtle message at play here. As the public continues to lose track of the connection between food and farmers, the joke that they think milk comes from a bottle and meat comes from a Styrofoam box, grows less funny. The corn growers have profit motives, of course, but they hope to bring to light the farmer’s contribution to ‘green’ energy and in a broader context, to the consumer’s dependence on the food that farmers grow.
At the same time, Furniture Row is sponsoring a NASCAR Sprint car emblazoned Farm American No. 78! It is a unique way of getting in a plug for American farming in front of knowledge-deprived consumers.
NASCAR is the No. 1 spectator sport in the U.S., according to them. To be able to use stock cars as circling billboards for our industry is a good idea and great opportunity for agriculture. If it catches on maybe we’ll see more crossover in other sports and endorsements. Instead of “Mail Pouch Tobacco” painted on the side of a barn in Georgia, we’ll see “Sunoco Green E15!” Cows branded with a big NASCAR logo on their right rib! Sprint car driver smoking a corncob pipe!
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At county fairs there will be competitions pitting tractor-maniac pit crews trying to change a tractor tire in the fastest time! “And the winner, from Ida Grove, Iowa, Gary Sandve in a blazing three hours, 42 min, 10 seconds!”
Pork producers can have Cook-Offs involving pitchforks, country style spareribs and flame throwers! We’d see farmers wearing drivers helmets on the fairways playing golf! Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles painted like a giant corn cob, all tying American farmers to sports but … our Super Bowl-World Series-Final Four … the Arkansas State Fair “Filler-Up Finals!” a contest wherein the winner is determined by which Razorback could siphon out a quart of Ethanol 15 from a Sprint car in the fastest time, using an Oklahoma credit card!