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.