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Drought Taking A Toll On N.C. Farmers

Farmers planning on a big cash harvest on the strength of their corn crop have had their dreams dashed by a dry and hot summer.

The drought has reduced the 2007 crop in North Carolina to a
third fewer bushels an acre than in the 2006 harvest. The 1 million
acres of corn planted in the state this year was 39 percent more
than what was planted last year.

Corn farmers were hoping to cash in on the highest prices in a
decade and a push to produce ethanol to curb the nation's
dependency on foreign oil. And they aren't the only farmers
suffering.

The combination of sparse rain and oppressive heat also has
farmers worried about the fate of tobacco and soybeans. High temperatures are scalding the tops of tobacco plants
already stressed by a lack of water. Heat is also searing soybean
plants that are just starting to bloom, raising the risk they will
just drop flowers and leaves and won't produce bean pods.


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