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Briefly

Storm damaged 550,000 corn acres

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has estimated that 550,000 acres of Iowa corn will not be harvested this fall due to damage caused by the Aug. 10 wind storm that swept across the state.

That estimate in a report released Friday places the value of the lost corn crop based on the yield and price anticipated before the storm at around $344 million. Corn prices have gone up due to the crop losses so farmers will likely get more money for the corn they do harvest. Most farmers also have crop insurance to cover some of the loss and other federal programs may help.

The storm, which cut through Iowa with winds reaching 140 mph, also damaged full storage bins at farm cooperatives and on farms, taking out grain stored from last year’s harvest.

Iowa farmers are expected to produce 2.48 billion bushels of corn this year on 13 million acres harvested, the USDA report said.

Soybean acres were not reduced due to the storm and production is expected to be 503 million bushels.

Nationally, the corn crop is anticipated to be 14.9 billion bushels, down 378 million bushels from last month’s pre-storm estimate, but still the second highest production on record for the U.S. The expected national average yield of 178.5 bushels per acre will be a record high if realized.

EPA sides with farmers on ethanol

(AP) — Federal regulators on Monday handed a victory to corn farmers and the renewable fuels industry by refusing to allow a group of petroleum refiners in 14 states to forego requirements to blend ethanol into the gasoline they make.

Members of Congress from farm states have heavily lobbied President Donald Trump to reject the waiver requests for months. Those representing oil-producing states supported the waivers, which were originally designed to help small refineries that struggled financially to meet federally mandated ethanol targets. In recent years, however, larger refineries also have received exemptions from the Trump administration.

The petroleum refiners had sought 54 exemptions retroactively, some as far back as 2011, that would have allowed the petroleum industry to remove hundreds of millions of gallons of corn-based ethanol from the market.

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