Q&A With an Illinois Corn Farmer

February 8, 2011

By Joanie Stiers

Six generations have grown field corn on the Corzine family farm in Assumption, Illinois, and Len Corzine makes farm decisions and serves in leadership roles to make sure future generations can grow it, too.

“One of our mantras is to leave the farm in a better way than we found it,” Corzine says. “At the same time, we would like to increase productivity and become more efficient at what we do and look at new technologies to do that.”

The Corzines grow corn and soybeans and care for a few Angus cows in the Assumption area. The farm owners include Len and wife, Susie, representing the fifth generation, and their son Craig, the sixth generation, who is married with two children.

Since Len Corzine began farming in 1974, the farm has reduced soil erosion, cut fertilizer use per bushel by half, and adopted satellite-guidance technology in its tractors to reduce fuel and chemical use. During his career, the family has increased yield productivity by 80 percent and can harvest five times more corn bushels per day.

Meanwhile, Corzine’s leadership roles, including former presidencies with the Illinois and National Corn Growers associations, placed him at the forefront of infrastructure issues, biotechnology discussions, trade agreements and the energy bill that launched ethanol’s expansion. He now serves as an ambassador for an international program to help ensure corn’s future in helping to feed the world.

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