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Illinois pumpkin harvest in ‘good shape’ after 2015 shortage

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MANITO, Ill. (AP) _ Illinois farmers say 2016 is shaping up to be a much better year for growing pumpkins.

The (Peoria) Journal-Star reports (http://bit.ly/2bRHSay ) growing conditions have been favorable for the pumpkin crop, whether the pumpkins are being grown for consumption or carving for Halloween.

In 2015, heavy June rains drowned pumpkin vines around the state. That led to a dismal harvest and a shortage of processed pumpkin.

Jim Ackerman is agriculture manager for Libby’s canning facility in Morton. He’s seeing “average to above-average yields” this year of 22 to 23 tons per acre.

Nathan Johanning is an educator and pumpkin expert with the University of Illinois Extension. He agreed with the central Illinois assessment.

Johanning says “from everything I’ve heard the crop is in good shape.”