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Drought Cuts Illinois Corn and Soybean Yield

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The worst U.S. drought in decades sizzled farmland last year and cost Illinois its spot as the nation's second-biggest corn producer.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture report on 2012 crops shows that Illinois slumped to fourth among corn-producing states. It was overtaken by Minnesota and Nebraska, while Iowa still heads the pack. The USDA says Illinois farmers produced 1.3 billion bushels of corn in 2012. That's down from 1.9 billion bushels each of the previous two years.

The state's soybean growers harvested 383.6 million bushels of soybeans. That fell from 423 million in 2011 and 466 million the year before that.

Last year was Illinois' second warmest and 10th driest year on record as the nation grappled with the worst U.S. drought in decades.

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