Iowa farmers will plant the most acres of corn and soybeans since World War II, according to estimates released this morning by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Corn growers intend to plant 95.9 million acres of corn for all purposes in 2012, up 4 percent from last year and 9 percent more than in 2010. This would represent the highest planted acreage in the United States since 1937, when an estimated 97.2 million acres were planted.

Soybean planted area for 2012 is estimated at 73.9 million acres, down 1 percent from last year and down 5 percent from 2010. Compared with 2011, planted area is down or unchanged across the Corn Belt and Great Plains with the exceptions of Illinois, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Dave Miller, an Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) economist, said improved technology and advances in seed genetics and conservation measures will help Iowa farmers improve sustainability, even though they are expected to plant about 1.5 percent more corn this year. Nationally, U.S. farmers are expected to plant 2.8 million more acres of corn and one-half million more acres of soybeans this year, Miller said.

Miller said the markets are expecting modest price increases for corn and soybeans now, but those levels could move higher if the projections fall short. He said food prices won't be affected at this time.

Iowa's ag economy continues to be strong. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2011, Iowa's personal income growth was second in the nation, thanks to large gains in farm income due to price increases for corn, soybeans, hogs and cattle.