The nation's No. 1 crop may be withering in parched fields across the country, but there's no reason to panic, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Friday in Omaha.
The corn crop - which feeds cattle, pigs and poultry, produces ethanol fuel, plastics and sweeteners, and is exported around the world - has been clobbered by heat and a lack of rain this summer.
The crop could be 13 percent smaller than the amount harvested in 2011, which would be the smallest crop since 2006, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Friday in its monthly crop production report.
The soybean crop would be 12 percent less than last year.
"We're going to get through this," Vilsack said. "The key here is ... that we don't panic, that the rest of the world doesn't panic and that we don't jump to conclusions about what we need to do or not do because we're going to have a little less corn and a little less soybeans than we thought a month or two ago.