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Corn more than knee high by 4th

Andy Gartner cultivates his corn crop Monday, pleased at the recent rains and sun. Corn prices jumped 40 cents a bushel on Monday. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)1 / 2
Andy Gartner2 / 2

Everything's looking green to Andy Gartner these days.

The second year farmer is thrilled about how his crops look.

The corn's already knee high, well before the Fourth.

"The wheat looks amazing," he said. "It's really looking nice."

Monday he was using a rented John Deere to cultivate his corn crop, compliments of a neighbor.

"I can't get my tractor down the 30-inch rows," he said.

"The hay didn't do very good this spring but it's coming back for second cutting," he said.

"I just contracted a little today," he said. "It's not as high as last year but it's pretty decent. Corn is about the same. Now after today it's up 40 cents, so that helps. That makes a big difference when you figure it over a few bushels. Beans look good.

"Everything's looking pretty good after this rain," he added. Hopefully this corn will shoot up after it's cultivated and has this water and sunshine."

He's doing a bit of mechanical work on the side in Akeley "to help some people over there."

But the 20-something bachelor is excited about the prospects for his 320-acre farm northeast of Park Rapids.

By this summer, he's used to the roller coaster of the futures market and is being very cagey about how he locks his prices in.

Last year he did OK, but acknowledged he could have done better.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is in the process of assessing crop losses in other parts of the state due to storms and floods.

The Park Rapids area got close to 5 inches of moisture last week, but rainfall totals varied widely.

MDA is helping community gardeners replace fruit and vegetable plants.

But the rains in Hubbard County stopped just short of drenching local crops.

The 2012 U.S. Farm Bill is headed to the House of Representatives, having passed the Senate last week.

The two versions of the bill will then be reconciled to arrive at a compromise that would require approval of the full Congress and the signature of President Obama.

One provision circulated this spring is pressuring Congress to support the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act as part of the 2012 Farm Bill. It is supported by many of Minnesota's federal delegation.

It would enable farmers like Gartner to acquire acreage and equipment more easily.

The current Farm Bill expires the end of September. The House will mark up its own bill July 11.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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