ST. LOUIS, MO -

Pumpkin farmers say they expect their crop to be one of a few bright spots in a year when most farms have been hit hard by a severe drought that stretches across much of the U.S.

Most of the nation's pumpkins are grown in a stretch of Illinois where Nestle has its Libby's pumpkin-canning plant.

Nestle spokeswoman Roz O'Hearn says farmers who irrigate seem to have produced bigger and more pumpkins than those who don't this year but overall the crop looks "fine."

Pumpkin farmer John Ackerman says that's because pumpkins thrive in dry weather that holds back fungus, mold and other rind-rotting diseases.

He says most of the pumpkins he planted fared "fantastic" and even those planted after the drought took hold are starting to turn orange now.