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Corn Growers Cash In On ‘Unbelievable’ Drought Harvest

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(credit: CBS) Bill Hudson
Bill Hudson has been with WCCO-TV since 1989. The native of Elk Rive...
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WACONIA, Minn. (WCCO) – The image of golden corn kernels pouring into Minnesota’s grain bins could well be the sight and sound of money for farmers.

“The crop we have is just unbelievable,” says farmer Jim Oelfke.

He and his son are wrapping up their fall harvest well ahead of schedule — and with far better results than their Corn Belt counterparts in Indiana, Iowa and Illinois, where the 2012 drought was most severe.

“They have virtually nothing, or very little,” Oelfke said. “I can’t believe how blessed we are.”

In fact, Minnesota farmers will benefit on two fronts: both corn prices and yields.

The average farmer will harvest 170 bushels per acre this year, according to the Minnesota Corn Growers Association. Current commodity prices have corn fluctuating between $7 and $8 per bushel.

That means a 500-acre crop could gross more than $600,000.

Tim Gerlach, the executive director of the Corn Growers Association, says Minnesota farmers were in the “sweet spot” this year.

“Just enough rain and just enough heat and sunshine,” he said. “Things are looking pretty good for our corn farmers right now.”

Gerlach added that the money earned by farmers gets spread across the state’s economy. Farmers will buy new trucks, implements and tractors.

Grain farmer Paul Gohlke is already putting in more drain tile in one of his wettest fields and plowing profits back into his business.

It’s all thanks to a harvest that couldn’t have been much better.

Gohlke added: “Everything worked just fine.”

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