PNS Daily Newscast - April 7, 2020 

Wisconsin holds its presidential primary today, despite late action by the governor to try to postpone it. And public assistance programs are overhauled in response to COVID-19.

2020Talks - April 7, 2020 

Today's the Wisconsin primary, although Democratic Gov. Tony Evers tried to delay by executive order. A conservative majority on the state Supreme Court blocked the delay, after the Republican Legislature previously stymied similar efforts.

Behind Closed Doors: CA Wants to Know Farm Bill Secrets

February 18, 2008

Los Angeles, CA – "Secrets" are raising suspicions in California, as Congress continues to work on the next U.S. Farm Bill behind closed doors. President Bush has already threatened to veto the bill unless it sets real limits on payments made to already-profitable corporate farms. Most California farmers are ineligible for the subsidy payments, which are made only to farmers of certain commodity crops raised primarily in the Midwest.

Jim Lyons with Oxfam says with the economy teetering on the edge of recession, it's crucial to keep the Farm Bill sharply focused on domestic investment, including Food Stamps, minority farmer programs, and economic development.

"We could address all those domestic needs -- conservation, nutrition, energy security -- by simply reallocating resources that currently go to very few farmers in the form of subsidies."

Lyons says the subsidy payments are not related to prices Californians pay for food in stores; he believes they are more directly related to the demise of family farms, because the subsidies encourage overproduction. Payments are even being made to people no longer farming, as well as to some who never have farmed.

"Everybody supports family farms, but it is a misrepresentation to say that current farm policy, and this Farm Bill, is going to benefit family farmers."

Supporters of the corporate payments have argued that they help keep consumer prices low. The current Farm Bill expires next month.

Deborah Smith/Eric Mack, Public News Service - CA