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I remember hearing and/or reading that the US government burned corn (or destroyed it) at some point. This was not because there was anything wrong with the corn, but rather because by buying it they could sustain higher prices for the corn (pleasing corn farmers); as presumably their reserves were already full, it was disposed of.

I can't find anything that substantiates this recollection. The closest I can find is stories about the US government paying farmers to not grow crops. Has anybody else heard the same story of the government actually destroying corn? Can anybody point me to a source?

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    Sounds familiar, but I didn't find anything on a search, other than one random comment claiming the same on a WSJ article. – T.E.D. Jun 16 '16 at 15:08
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    This book claims that some burnt their crops in the Depression, but it does not claim government intervention to do so. – called2voyage Jun 16 '16 at 15:30
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    I remember learning that this was one of the New Deal measures FDR took to stabilise food prices during the Great Depression. The textbook said something like, "It didn't seem right to many for the government to burn food while millions of Americans were starving." – Semaphore Jun 16 '16 at 16:40
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    In Brazil in the 30s they used dried coffee to power locomotives... which was more useful than just throwing the excess production at sea. makezine.com/2007/01/17/using-coffee-as-fuel-in-b – SJuan76 Jun 16 '16 at 22:54
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Henry Ford first ran his "automobile" on ethanol so I think any government policy to burn corn is highly suspect at best. Using corn instead of wood for fueling a stove for cooking was quite common too "in days of yore." Again I wouldn't call this a "policy" however.

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    Again, I think ethanol is distracting from my question. I had a recollection of the government purchasing and destroying corn as a way to support higher corn prices. Perhaps this was apocryphal, but at least one other user has heard of a similar story. In any case, I would interpret your answer as "no," i.e. the government never burned corn. Of course, it's rather difficult to prove the negative! – Shane Jun 19 '16 at 12:09
  • I suspect they burned just the cobs and husks. – Schwern Mar 15 '18 at 18:55

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