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Minn. will have nation's best corn crop, USDA says

The rest of the country will be looking to Minnesota to help fill its corn bins this fall. A new crop estimate from the USDA says the national corn harvest will be 13 percent smaller than last year. But up here where the drought is not as devastating, we're expecting to bring in 7 percent more than last year. And the sugar beet forecast is up a whopping 43 percent.
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In a summer of drought across the nation's midsection, Minnesota is a bright spot on the harvest map. A new federal estimate predicts the corn harvest here will be seven percent larger than last year, while nationwide it will be 13 percent smaller. The dry weather means the per-acre yields will be lower, but the number of acres planted this spring was a record both in the state and nationally.

The USDA report actually forecasts a smaller crop loss than markets had feared. That's spawned hope - especially among livestock farmers - that soaring corn prices will stabilize.

Minnesota's harvest is already underway, weeks earlier than usual thanks to the mild spring weather that gave farmers an early start.

Meanwhile, the federal ag policy that guides many of the decisions growers make expires at the end of the month. Minnesota's Collin Peterson, the ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, spoke at a rally urging the House to approve a new farm bill. The Senate passed a new bill in June.

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USDA: Minnesota farmers will plant seven percent more corn in 2012

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