Corn, which is native to the western hemisphere, is considered the most domesticated of all field crops. Today the US plants about 91.9 million acres of corn annually making it the largest producer of corn in the world.
The corn dry milling industry produces a wide variety of yellow and white corn products with the main product categories being degermed corn grits (the germ or embryo of the kernel is removed), corn meal, corn flour and corn bran. These, in turn, are used in a number of common foods, from breakfast cereals, to snack foods, baked good, beer, and even pet foods. Dry milled products are also used in such non-food items as building materials, ceramics, pharmaceuticals, paper goods, and textiles.
By-products derived from the milling process are corn oil, used in salad dressings, margarines and syrups, and hominy, primarily used as a source of starch and fiber in animal feed.
Millers in North America use milling quality “dent” or field corn, typically purchased directly from growers and leading dealers on the basis of numerical grade, with a premium paid for the highest quality corn.