October 19, 2019

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.


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.


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.


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.


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