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Numbers released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) show the size of the current corn harvest and how much of it is projected to be used for ethanol. As in recent years, roughly 40 percent of U.S. corn (nearly 5 billion bushels) is projected to be used to make fuel, despite drought conditions across much of the Corn Belt causing a significant reduction in the total size of the crop. Many argue that diverting such a huge percentage of the corn crop to make ethanol contributes to food price volatility and food shortages around the world.

The question is, just how many people could corn used for ethanol feed? This infographic illustrates what’s at stake when so much corn is used to make ethanol:

Earlier this year the USDA reported the largest corn planting in history. Yet record temperatures and drought throughout the country means this year’s crop could be far lower than originally expected. Weather is uncontrollable, but we can influence demand for corn supplies. Government incentives for corn ethanol increase demand at a time when corn is expected to be in short supply. And that has global hunger advocates worried.

Graphic by Kelsey Kremer/Iowa State Daily.

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  • #infographic: How many people could eat for an entire year from U.S. #corn grown for #ethanol? 412 million. http://bit.ly/OaDFHg
  • #Infographic: US #corn harvested for #biofuel production in ‘12 could feed 412 million people for a year http://bit.ly/OaDFHg
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Visit EcoWatch’s FOOD page for more related news on this topic.