Rains eased drought conditions slightly in Illinois and some other key US farming states but didn't help growers and ranchers in Kansas or Nebraska. The US Drought Monitor map released today shows the amount of the contiguous US mired in drought conditions dropped less than 1 percent to 61.8 percent as of Tuesday. The portion enduring the two worst classifications of drought also eased slightly. In Iowa, the nation's leader in corn production, the amount of land mired in the most-serious categories dropped 7 percentage points to just more than 62 percent over the past week. That's thanks to the recent storms that swept part of the Midwest. Illinois is another key supplier of corn and soybeans. It saw conditions abate slightly, with the amount of land in the two worst drought categories slipping from 81.18 percent to 79.54 percent.
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