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A Passionate Voice


Even at an early age, Cheryl Day was a passionate and practical advocate for agriculture. Check out her viewpoint on current agricultural topics.

Sweet Corn, the Rock Star of the Garden

May 11, 2012

Unquestionably, the sweet corn is the Rock Star of the Garden. From the minute the first seed is planted, I can actually taste this juicy nutritional flavorful vegetable.

Photo by University of Minnesota Extension

Perhaps you share my fond memories of sitting on the tailgate removing husks from the sweet corn, picking out the tiny silk strings, and investigating each ear for bugs or worms to be removed.  All the time it takes to place the seed in the ground, nurturing its growth, and hand picking it in peak of ripeness to serve as savory vegetable for my family’s dining pleasure is well worth it.


As family farming in Central Illinois, our fields are filled with cash crops of yellow dent corn [field Corn] and soybeans.  However, we always save room for the sweet corn patch.  Similar to farmers in our area, our sweet corn is planted in a corner of the field side by side to our field corn. 

Since, sweet corn is the cream of our crop not financially but a ‘Bonus Nutritional Crop’ for our dining pleasure all year long, we take great care in raising it.  Our family was exciting at the chance to try for free the new Performance Series™ sweet corn Obsession II Variety provide by the Monsanto Company.  

If you do not partake in the art of growing your own vegetables, you may be asking why our family is stoked about trying a new type of sweet corn.  Obsession II is a biotech sweet corn. 

Yes, I said the BIOTECH word- a term that has been characterized as evil or bad.  However, Biotechnology or genetic engineering, simply put, is the process of inserting a desired gene (naturally occurring) from one species into another species. In agriculture, biotechnology is used to give plants a desirable trait, [Example insect resistance or herbicide tolerance], that often cannot be developed from conventional breeding practices. 

Our farming operation is open to new innovations and welcomes biotechnology. In fact the same technology in this particular sweet corn is already in the field corn that we plant. A sweet corn seed containing a genetic package for insect resistance and herbicide tolerance is quite appealing. A built-in insect control simple means less insectide that I have to apply over the sweet corn patch and less food wasted due to insect damage.  In addition the Roundup Ready trait, allows us to place the sweet corn patch in the field.  We do not have to manually remove the weeds by hand because now we can effectively control weeds [if needed] with the same herbicide application as the field corn in the next row without stressing if we killed the sweet corn.   

As a mom, I am not afraid of serving biotech sweet corn to my family because it is completely safe. The nutritional value of the sweet corn is not hindered by biotechnology. In fact, it produces a higher-quality vegetable that results in less wasted sweet corn.

I will be sharing my family's experience and my personal perspective on the Obsession II sweet corn. I invite you to follow along as we explore the world of sweet corn.


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