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updated: 10/18/2012 10:26 AM

Drought conditions ease in key Midwest farm states

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Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- Recent storms have eased drought conditions in several key Midwest farming states where the corn harvest is wrapping up.

The U.S. Drought Monitor's weekly update released Thursday shows that 62.4 percent the lower 48 states remained mired in some form of drought during a seven-day period ending Tuesday. That's down more than a percentage point from the previous week and a welcome sign for farmers enduring the nation's worst drought in decades.

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Thursday's update shows that 63.9 percent of Iowa, the nation's biggest corn producer, is still in extreme or exceptional drought, which are the worst two classifications. That's down nearly 12 percentage points from a week earlier.

Those two categories fell in Kansas from 95.7 percent last week to 77.8 percent now.

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