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Despite Lingering Drought, USDA Predicts A Flood Of Grain

Economists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, gazing into their crystal ball, see American farmers planting and harvesting huge amounts of corn, soybeans, and wheat this year. They're predicting a record harvest of corn: 14 billion bushels, up nearly 40 percent over last year's drought-crippled level.

With supply up, prices will fall. The USDA thinks that the price of the average bushel of corn could fall by a third. And soybean production and price are expected to follow a similar track.

Of course, these predictions assume good weather. USDA Chief Economist Joseph Glauber admits that he predicted the same thing last year at this time, but a drought in the Midwest turned anticipated glut into scarcity. Grain prices went up, putting a major squeeze on farmers who raise pigs, chickens, and cattle.

This week, the weather appeared to be cooperating. As Glauber and his colleagues laid out their forecast in a Washington-area hotel, a storm was dumping more than a foot of snow on some of the places that needs it most, including Nebraska, Kansas, and South Dakota.

One storm won't bring things completely back to normal, though. Soil scientist Randall Miles, from the University of Missouri, says it will take at least two years of good rains to replenish moisture in the soil of many hard-hit areas, and crop yields this year still may suffer.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Black Leadership In The Age Of Obama: A Look Back

PBS NewsHour co-anchor Gwen Ifill joins All Things Considered from the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, to discuss her 2009 book The Breakthrough. Ifill is re-examining the book's conclusions about black political leadership as President Obama prepares to leave office.
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QUIZ: How Much Do You Know About Presidents And Food?

It's week two of the party conventions, and all these speeches are making us hungry. So we made a quiz to test your savvy about presidents and our favorite topic, food.
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Trump's Call On Russia Interpreted As Invitation To Foreign Meddling

Donald Trump on Wednesday called for Russia to hack Hillary Clinton's email and recover messages from her tenure as secretary of state.
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Police Use Fingertip Replicas To Unlock A Murder Victim's Phone

Michigan State University engineers tried 3-D-printed fingertips and special conductive replicas of the victim's fingerprints to crack the biometric lock on his Samsung Galaxy phone.

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