CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — We heard on Wednesday that the corn market was going down, but demand for corn is increasing, particularly for exotic products like chemicals.

Someone who is quite excited about the future of corn is Robin Bowen of the Corn Refiners Association.

“There are opportunities with new products, new markets, new opportunities that are being driven by interest in sustainability, and just a lot of better chemistry, particularly for corn,” Bowen said. “Where we can have even more of our products and new markets developed, consumer products that folks don’t even realize – hair products, health care products, and bioplastics. So there is a lot of new opportunities, but at the same time we are facing new challenges.”

Corn production is going up. We’re producing a little over 15 billion bushels right now, and the carryout is going down. With all of those new products, there’s going to be a tight carryout and farmers are going to have to be producing more.

“That’s exactly what we are anticipating. And there is a need for new markets, based on the changes that you are aware of too in terms of things that have been, kind of our normal stays, they are changing, Bowen responded. “But again, there is new innovation that is coming into play that gives us more applications for corn chemistry and that’s what we are really excited about. We refer to it as the agricultural bio-economy and it’s a lot bigger than pharmaceuticals and even traditional energy like ethanol. There’s a whole lot of new opportunities out there that U.S. farmers, Decatur farmers, are ready and able to meet.”

Such as? What are some of the things that are not ethanol, are not sweeteners, that are part of that bio-economy?

“Well, its how you can use the power of the corn starch to get to polymers, and get into materials and renewable chemicals that have lots of different applications,” Bowen said.