In the third quarter of fiscal 2012, we continue to see strong U.S. irrigation equipment demand, which drove revenues in the quarter to a record $172.1 million, 12% higher than last year. Irrigation sales gains and gross margin improvements across both of our business segments led to strong cash flows and higher operating margins in the quarter. Net earnings were $18.8 million or $1.47 per diluted share compared with $15.3 million or $1.20 per diluted share from the prior year's third quarter. Operating margins increased to 16.7% compared to 15.1% in the same quarter last year.
Total revenues for the first 9 months of fiscal 2012 were a record high of $423.4 million, increasing 17% from the same period last year. Net earnings for the first 9 months were $34.5 million or $2.70 per diluted share compared to $30.9 million or $2.44 per diluted share for the first 9 months of fiscal 2011. Year-to-date 2012 results included a $7.2 million accrual for environmental remediation at our Lindsay, Nebraska facility. Excluding the environmental accrual, net earnings for the first 9 months of fiscal 2012 were $3.07 per diluted share, and operating margin improved to 14.2% compared to 13.2% in the same period last year.
Irrigation segment sales totaled $149.6 million in the quarter, 18% higher than last year. Irrigation operating margins improved to 20.9% compared to 20.2% last year. In the U.S. irrigation market, revenues were $105.6 million for the third quarter, increasing 38% over the same period last year. Order volumes continued to be strong throughout the primary selling season, and revenues grew in virtually all U.S. regions, with the lowest growth in the drought-stricken Texas market. Commodity prices remain relatively high by historical standards, partially driven by dry weather concerns across the Midwest. The USDA projects U.S. net farm income in 2012 to be the second-highest on record and 28% higher than the 10-year average, continuing to represent positive economic conditions for U.S. farmers.