U.S. Expects Bigger Corn Crop to Ease Food Inflation

By Staff | March 31, 2011 | 10:22 AM EDT

An Iowa State University researcher holds an ear of corn in a lab at Iowa State in Ames, Iowa. The USDA has funded three new, major research projects investigating the effects of “climate change” agricultural and forest production. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

St. Louis (AP) - U.S. farmers are expected to boost the size of this year's corn crop, potentially easing global food inflation by fall.

The Agriculture Department reports that farmers intend to plant 92.2 million acres of corn this spring, a 5 percent increase over last year. That would make it the second-biggest corn crop since 1944.

Grain prices are at their highest levels since the food crisis of 2008. New production will help ease concerns over a supply pinch. Worries over a shortage have doubled the price of corn, from $3.50 to more than $7 a bushel since last summer.

The high prices are encouraging farmers to plant more corn.