MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Despite the drought that parched the rest of the country, 2012 is shaping up as a pleasant surprise for many Minnesota farmers.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture projects Minnesota farmers will harvest 1.39 million bushels of corn, up 15 percent from last year. If that estimate holds true, it would beat the state record of 1.29 billion bushels set in 2010.

Minnesota's average corn yield is forecast at 168 bushels per acre, a 12 bushel improvement from last year, but below the record of 177 bushels two years ago.

Minnesota's soybean production is forecast at 300 million bushels, up 9 percent from last year, with an average yield of 43 bushels per acre, up four bushels from last year.

Sugarbeet production is expected to hit a record 12.8 million tons.