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Corn maze season is here

Corn maze season is here

Farmers support troops, raise awareness for local groups and celebrate movies in these pieces of field art

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

From the side of the road, many corn fields across the United States look similar.

But a bird’s eye view of a corn field can reveal works of art.

Many U.S. farmers plant their fields into corn maze designs and welcome visitors in the fall to participate in the popular agritourism attraction.

Growers use their corn field canvasses to display messages or celebrate something of interest.

Here are a few of the corn mazes making headlines across the U.S. in 2022.

At Richardson Adventure Farm in Spring Grove, Ill., visitors can use their spy skills to escape a corn maze dedicated to 60 years of James Bond.

“We are Bond fans. We love all the films,” said George Richardson, who operates the farm with his family, Good News Network reported.

The maze, which sits on 28 acres and has over 10 miles of trails, includes the five men known for playing Bond – Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig.

It also features Bond’s Aston Martin and a Bond girl in the middle of the movie franchise’s iconic gun barrel sequence.

In Walnut Cove, N.C., two corn mazes on a farm are dedicated to the men and women of the United States military.

At Armstrong Artisan Farm, visitors can enter try one maze that, when seen from above, says “Support our troops.” Another maze features symbols related to military branches including an anchor, a tank and a ship.

Support Our Troops corn maze
Armstrong Artisan Farm photo

The mazes are a small way to recognize the work members of the military do.

“Our armed forces seldom get the recognition they deserve and this is our way to help raise awareness and honor them,” Jessica Armstrong told WXII.

And in Atkins, Iowa, a farm family is using its corn maze to raise awareness about a local organization.

The corn maze at Bloomsbury Farm recognizes Camp Courageous in Monticello as it celebrates its 50th anniversary.

The organization provides recreational and respite care opportunities for individuals with special needs.

The corn maze includes the organization’s logo and facts about the camp.

Using the corn maze to benefit local community groups is always the plan, said Samantha Petersen, a manager for Bloomsbury Farm.

“Ever since we started the business, my parents had a focus on partnering with nonprofits and organizations bigger than Bloomsbury,” she said, The Gazette reported. “We have a passion for using the design in our corn maze to build awareness for nonprofits.”

The U.S. agritourism has grown in recent years.

Revenue from the agritourism industry has increased from $704 million in 2012 to almost $950 million in 2017, data from the Economic Research Service of the United States department of Agriculture says.

And some research suggests the global agritourism market could be worth $117.37 billion by 2027.

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Why Bill Gates Is Buying Up U.S. Farmland

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Bill Gates made headlines for becoming the largest private farmland owner in the U.S. But he’s not the only one. Some of the wealthiest landowners including Jeff Bezos, John Malone and Thomas Peterffy are buying up forests, ranches and farmlands across the United States. Why? Watch the video to find out.

Investments in farmland are growing across the country as people, including the ultra-wealthy like Bill Gates, look for new ways to grow their money.

In 2020, Gates made headlines for becoming the largest private farmland owner in the U.S. He had accumulated more than 269,000 acres of farmland across 18 states in less than a decade. His farmland grows onions, carrots and even the potatoes that are used to make McDonald’s French fries.

“It’s an asset with increasing value,” American Farmland Trust CEO John Piotti said. “It has great intrinsic value and beyond that, it is a limited resource.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 30% of all farmland is owned by landlords who don’t farm themselves. Buyers often purchase land from farmers who have owned it for decades; many of whom may be asset rich but maybe cash poor.

“The economic realities for them are typical that they’ve spent their life farming,” said Holly Rippon-Butler, land campaign director at the National Young Farmers Coalition. “Their retirement, their equity is all in the land and tied up in selling land.”

Private landowners are also making a profit by utilizing the land in numerous ways. Approximately 39% of the 911 million acres of farmland across the U.S. is rented out to farmers, and 80% of that rented farmland is owned by landlords who don’t farm themselves data from the Agriculture Department shows.

“The young farmers are just as happy to lease the land because whether you are young or old, it’s a business, right?” said Thomas Petterfy, chairman of Interactive Brokers and owner of 581,000 acres.

“You go buy a farm and you put that cash rental lease in place, you’re going to be looking at about 2.5% return on your capital,” Peoples Company President Steve Bruere said.


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