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Evening Edition | Thursday, August 25, 2022

In tonight's Evening Edition, read about the most excellent corn in the country, the USDA's plans to help underserved farmers, and the crop harvest in China.

Crop Conditions

Editor Natalina Sents Bausch reports on the condition of corn across the top 18 corn growing states.

The USDA pegs 7% of the country's corn crop in excellent shape. However, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, Ohio, Indiana, and Missouri have higher rates of excellent corn.

Monday’s USDA Crop Progress Report indicated 21% of Illinois corn is in excellent condition. West central Illinois farmer Matt Swanson raises corn, soybeans, and cattle. Corn in his area is not excellent, he says.

Support for Underserved Farmers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will distribute up to $550 million to expand certain farmers’ access to land, money and markets and to create educational opportunities for the students of higher-education institutions that cater to racial and ethnic minorities.

Underserved farmers have generally included agricultural producers who have had no or limited assistance from USDA programs in the past, including new farmers and ranchers, those with low incomes and those of racial or ethnic minorities.

“The idea here obviously is to enlarge the number of people that are engaged in this very important occupation and calling,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

Harvest in China

As China's record heatwave starts to subside, farmers are assessing the damage caused by a prolonged drought and the government is urging them to replant or switch crops where they can.

Though rain is expected over the coming 10 days, farmers near the depleted Poyang Lake in central China's Jiangxi province, normally a flood outlet for the Yangtze, worry that the heat has already done too much damage.

The agriculture ministry said on Tuesday that the hot weather posed a "serious threat" to autumn grain production and urged local governments to "do everything possible" to find more water.

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