FarmPolicy

April 20, 2014

Farm Bill Highlighted on CBS Evening News on Christmas Day

Categories: Farm Bill

On Christmas Day, the stalled Farm Bill was highlighted on the CBS Evening News.

An audio replay of the segment can be heard here (MP3- 2:10), while a transcript is reproduced below. A video replay of the full CBS Evening News program from Tuesday is also included below.

Transcript:

Farmers will also feel the impact if lawmakers fail to reach a deal on the fiscal cliff. A multibillion dollar aid bill may be a casualty of the stalemate. The ripple effects would be felt far from the fields. We asked Anna Werner to look into that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNA WERNER, CBS CORRESPONDENT: Eagle Lake, Texas depends on rice. It`s been grown here since the 1800s. Drought is usually the biggest threat, but the nervous talk in the drugstore now is about Congress.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Without the farm bill, it really makes it uncertain for what you should do next year.

WERNER: Steve Ballast (ph) is a pharmacist here and a rice farmer. The people are nervous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very nervous.

WERNER: What are they saying when they`re coming in? What are you hearing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do we do? You know, they don`t know what to do. It`s so uncertain right now that the banks don`t know what to do. The farmers don`t know what to do. They`re out there plowing the land, getting it all prepared for next year. With total uncertainty.

WERNER: At stake, $154 billion in federal farm aid and crop insurance, sidelined by the fiscal cliff stalemate. Benefits from the farm bill also guarantee rice farmer L.G. Ronn (ph) that his costs are covered when crops are bad or demand drops.

So you`d be out of it if there was no subsidy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will be looking for another job, absolutely.

WERNER: Because you just can`t make enough money to make a go of it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those risks are too great. I could lose it all. If the market, if I plant rice and the market price is $12, and the next four months it goes down to $6, I`ve lost $1 million during that time period. I can`t sustain that. I`m broke in one year.

WERNER: The farm bill impacts much more than rural America. 80 percent of the bill`s $1 trillion in spending covers food stamps, school lunches, forest conservation, and renewable fuels.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we`re sitting right here in limbo, waiting on our lame-duck Congress to see if actually they will take up and reauthorize the new farm bill.

WERNER: He needs answers soon. The planting season is just weeks away. Anna Werner, CBS News, Eagle Lake, Texas.

-kg

Drought- Farm Bill; Budget; and, Trade

Drought- Farm Bill Issues

Bloomberg writer Brian K. Sullivan reported recently that, “The drought that covers almost 62 percent of the contiguous U.S. states is second in size only to the Dust Bowl of the 1930s and may continue into 2013 in the southern Great Plains, government climatologists said.

“Forecast models suggest an area from parts of western Kansas south into Texas and west to New Mexico will probably see the drought continue until at least March, said David Unger, a meteorologist at the U.S. Climate Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.”

The Bloomberg article pointed out that, “Drought conditions now cover 61.79 percent of the 48 contiguous U.S. states and 51.7 percent of the entire country, including Puerto Rico, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor in Lincoln, Nebraska.

“There is a chance the Ohio River valley will have above- average levels of rain and snow this winter, alleviating dryness in the soil before spring arrives, Unger said.

“The drought is one of 11 natural disasters that cost more than $1 billion in 2012, said Adam Smith, an applied climatologist at the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina.”

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