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Oct 12, 2011 9:22 AM by Kate Richards

Corn surplus may affect food prices

WASHINGTON (AP) - Food prices could rise more slowly next year because farmers have a bigger surplus of corn on hand than previously thought.

The Department of Agriculture estimates farmers have 206 million more bushels of surplus corn on hand at the start of this year's harvest. That means farmers will have 866 million bushels of corn on hand at the end of next summer. That's higher than last month's forecast of 672 million bushels.

The bigger surplus could bring down corn prices, which soared to record levels in June because of limited supplies.

Corn is an ingredient in everything from animal feed to cereal to soft drinks. So cheaper corn could ease broader food prices. It takes about six months for corn prices to trickle down to products at the grocery store.

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