THE PRICE OF WHEAT has ballooned during the last year: Portland trades of No. 1 soft white wheat rose 65% between July 2006 and July 2007, easily surpassing $6 per bushel. Globally, prices neared record highs, due in part to drought- or flood-ruined harvests in many wheat-producing regions where stockpiles hit 30-year lows. Meanwhile, U.S. farms have devoted more land to corn rather than wheat. In Oregon, production declined 17% in 2006, but value of production grew 9%; state yields remained well above the U.S. average.
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