Like many beginning farmers, Grant Curtis wants to invest in his operation, but expectations of low prices are tying his hands. Abby Wendle/Harvest Public Media hide caption

itoggle caption Abby Wendle/Harvest Public Media

Sunlight streams into a corn storage building at a Michlig Grain storage facility in Sheffield, Illinois, U.S., on Oct. 31, 2014. The price of corn has been falling for months. Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Illinois State Corn Husking Competition is one of nine competitions happening during harvest season all across the Midwest. Abby Wendle /NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Abby Wendle /NPR

Farmer Seth Watkins (left) and agronomist Matt Liebman stand amid native prairie grasses near Des Moines, Iowa. The conservation strip is used to stop soil erosion. John Ydstie/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption John Ydstie/NPR

A corn purchaser writes on his account in northwest China in 2012. In November 2013, officials began rejecting imports of U.S. corn when they detected traces of a new gene not yet approved in China. Peng Zhaozhi/Xinhua/Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Peng Zhaozhi/Xinhua/Landov

Wheat fields like this one could yield wheat with less zinc and iron in the future if they are exposed to higher levels of CO2, according to the journal Nature. Zaharov Evgeniy/iStockphoto.com hide caption

itoggle caption Zaharov Evgeniy/iStockphoto.com

Seed corn sits in the hopper of a planter. Scott Olson/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Scott Olson/Getty Images

Rowbot is designed to fit in between the rows of crops. Moving up and down each row, a fleet of 20 bots could fertilize and monitor the corn crops during the growing season. Courtesy of Kent Cavender-Bares hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Kent Cavender-Bares

The heirloom corn variety has only eight rows of kernels and hence, its name: New England Eight Row Flint. Courtesy of Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture

Italian farmer Giorgio Fidenato picks up what's left of his genetically altered corn after anti-GMO activists trampled it, back in 2010. Paolo Giovannini/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Paolo Giovannini/AP