Agriculture Flourishing as Harvest Under Way

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STERLING, Kan. (AP) _ The overall economy is suffering, but the
farm sector is the bright spot thanks to higher commodity prices
and bountiful crops.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the ag economy has the
potential to add a record 95 (B) billion dollars in net income to
producers. Meanwhile, the value of crop production, at 188 (B)
billion dollars, is forecast to exceed the 2007 record by 38 (B)
billion dollars.

That's a 25 percent increase.

The economic surge has spilled over to farm manufacturers, who
can't keep up with demand for new products.

Yet, despite these gains, there are mounting concerns about a
possible disaster not seen since the 1980s farm-economy collapse.

That's because of increasing debt, soaring land values and the
skyrocketing prices for fuel and fertilizer.

The commodity market is volatile too, and fearing drops in
prices, some wonder when this golden age of agriculture will end.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)