DES MOINES (AP) — Corn farmers are feeling the impact of a cool, wet spring but are still expected to bring in a record crop this year.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its monthly report released Wednesday that farmers are expected to bring in 14 billion bushels of corn this year. That’s 135 million bushels less than last month’s estimate, reflecting the impact of the cooler spring.
But that would still beat the 13.1 billion bushel record, set in 2009. Last year, farmers harvested only about 11 billion bushels because of the drought.
The changes are not expected to significantly affect food prices for consumers.
Facebook to use hashtags, other tools
Facebook is introducing hashtags, the number signs used on Twitter, Instagram and other services to identify topics being discussed and allow users to search for them.
Facebook Inc. said in a blog post Wednesday that users will be able to click a hashtag to see a feed of discussions about a particular topic. For example, typing a number sign in front of “ladygaga” or “sunset” will turn the words into a link that users can click on to find posts about Lady Gaga or sunsets.
Facebook said hashtags are a first step toward making it easier for users to find out what others are discussing. The company is not giving exact details about other tools it might introduce. If Twitter’s use of hashtags is any indication, Facebook will likely incorporate them into its advertising business.
The hashtags will conform to users’ privacy settings — so putting a hashtag in a post that’s only visible to your friends won’t make it show up for anyone other than your friends.
Facebook said it will make the clickable hashtags available to users in the coming weeks.
Yahoo to free up inactive email accounts
Yahoo is trying to breathe new life into inactive email accounts by giving away the identifications beginning next month.
The program announced Wednesday will give Web surfers an opportunity to claim a new handle that had previously been unavailable. It also represents a last chance for Yahoo users who haven’t logged in for at least a year a final chance to keep the address.
Yahoo Inc. plans to release the inactive accounts unless the current owner logs in again before July 15. After that, the identifications will be available to all comers and will be ready to use again in mid-August.
The Sunnyvale, Calif., company isn’t specifying how many emails are in the dead pool.