BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — U.S. senators from North Dakota and Minnesota say the federal Department of Agriculture is buying up to $14.5 million worth of dry beans to help farmers in the two states.

The senators say producers need the support because they’ve been facing increased international competition, larger harvests and falling crop prices.

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North Dakota Sens. Heidi Heitkamp and John Hoeven and Minnesota Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken say USDA has approved surplus purchases of great northern beans and pinto beans.

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North Dakota leads the nation in dry bean production, accounting for nearly a third of the country’s total crop and more than half of the pinto beans. Minnesota ranks fourth in total dry bean production.

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