Bountiful Harvest, Bleak Outlook

Bumper crops will add to the pressure on debt-ridden farmers

As combines rumbled through golden Dakota wheatfields last week, all signs pointed to a handsome harvest. The corn belt through Indiana, Illinois and Iowa was a healthy bright green, and soybean fields from Minnesota to Missouri sprouted lush and leafy plants. But bounty is a mixed blessing for American farmers, who are mired in a deepening agricultural depression. "This is the crop of our lives," says Roger Ellison, who farms 400 acres of corn and soybeans 45 miles north of Columbia, Mo. "The sad thing is, there's no price in the market for it."

A report released last week by the...

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