Learn about specialty corn hybrids at GEI and Practical Farmers field day – Sept. 15, Luther

For Release: September 3, 2015

LUTHER, Iowa — Drive anywhere in Iowa right now, and you’ll see why Iowa is known for its ability to grow corn. The ubiquitous fields of green might look the same from the outside. But corn breeder Alix Paez says that external appearance masks a diverse family of corn hybrids developed to suit a wide range of needs – including specialty applications in the food and feed industry.

“Specialty corn has modifications to the nutritive aspects of the grain – either proteins or starches – that have been modified to give the corn special properties,” says Alix, who develops specialty and non-GMO corn hybrids for the Iowa-based seed company Genetic Enterprises International (GEI).

Alix says specialty corn has many applications, from food for humans, to livestock feed rations, to industrial uses. Join Alix and his wife, Mary Jane, at a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day they are hosting on Tuesday, Sept. 15, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., near Luther, and delve into the world of specialty corn, its uses and applications. The event – “Specialty Hybrid Corn for Food and Feed” – is free to attend, and will include a lunch after the program featuring foods made with specialty corn. RSVPs are required, as attendance is limited to 50 people. Please reply to Lauren Zastrow, (515) 232-5661 or lauren@practicalfarmers.org, by Friday, Sept. 11.

The field day is sponsored by Boone County Soil and Water Conservation District, and will be held at 3 Boone St. (County Road E57), at the intersection of state Route 17 and Co Rd E57.

Attendees will hear from experts in the field of specialty corn, see visual displays of products in the field and enjoy a field tour. Topics to be covered include: the breeding, uses and applications of specialty corn; high-lysine corn; high-anthocyanin corn; floury corn; waxy corn; resistant-start corn; white corn; mushroom popcorn for coating; hard-textured corn for dry-milling; and high-carotenoid corn – a new specialty corn hybrid GEI is releasing this year.

“High-carotenoid corn has high levels of pro-vitamin A, which is good for eye function and general health,” Alix says. “It’s a hard-textured corn that can be used by the food industry to make grits, breakfast cereals or any other use.”

Attending farmers are also invited to bring a 1-pound sample of corn grain to test. At the end of the field day, the Corn Insects and Crop Genetics Research Unit of the USDA-ARS at Iowa State University will set up an NIR machine to test the corn for levels of protein, starch, oil and density.

In addition to Alix and Mary Jane, guests will hear from Paul Scott, assistant professor of agronomy at ISU; John Gilbert, a farmer near Iowa Falls; Jay-lin Jane, a professor of food science and nutrition at ISU; and Stefan Gailans, with Practical Farmers of Iowa.

Genetic Enterprises International is a corn breeding company that develops hybrid dent corn and hybrid specialty corn for food and feed. GEI develops products for specific nice markets or special applications in the food and feed industry, as well as hybrids of different maturities to fit the various growing areas in Iowa. GEI hybrids are suitable for conventional, organic or high-intensity farming practices.

Directions: From U.S. 30, take Exit 137 for IA-17 toward Madrid and head south for about 6 miles. Turn right on Co Rd E57 / 270th Street. The field day location is at the intersection of Route 17 and Co Rd E57.

Practical Farmers of Iowa’s 2015 field day season features 40 field days around Iowa. All field days are open to the public, and most are free to attend. The guide is available online at practicalfarmers.org, or contact the PFI office at (515) 232-5661 to request a printed copy.

Practical Farmers’ 2015 field days are supported by several sustaining and major sponsors, including: Albert Lea Seed; Applegate Natural & Organic Meats; BlueStem Organic Feed Mill; Center for Rural Affairs; Featherman Equipment Company; Grain Millers, Inc.; Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance; Iowa Beef Center; Iowa Farm Service Agency (USDA); Iowa Farmers Union in partnership with Town and Country Insurance and Hastings Mutual Insurance; Iowa State University Department of Agronomy; Iowa State University Extension and Outreach; Iowa Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE); Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (I-CASH); ISU Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture; Klinkenborg Aerial Spraying and Seeding, Inc.; La Crosse Seed; Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture; Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES); MOSA Organic Certification; National Wildlife Federation; Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS); Organic Valley – Organic Prairie – CROPP Cooperative; The Nature Conservancy in Iowa; Pro-Soil Ag Solutions; Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture; and Welter Seed and Honey Company.


Practical Farmers of Iowa strengthens farms and communities through farmer-led investigation and information-sharing. Our values include: welcoming everyone; creativity, collaboration and community; viable farms now and for future generations; and stewardship and ecology. Founded in 1985, farmers in our network raise corn, soybeans, livestock, hay, fruits and vegetables, and more. To learn more, visit https://www.practicalfarmers.org. 


Alix and Mary Jane Paez | Genetic Enterprises International | (515) 865-8834 | paezgei@mchsi.com | http://geicornseed.com

Tamsyn Jones | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 | tamsyn@practicalfarmers.org