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Congressman Elijah Cummings has died. Also on the rundown: President Trump puts some distance between himself and policy on Syria. South Dakota awaits a SCOTUS ruling on the insanity defense, plus the focus remains on election security for 2020.

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Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar, two members of the Squad, endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders. Plus, some candidates are spending more than they're raising.

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NV Consumers and Ranchers Facing Higher Feed Costs

April 7, 2008

Las Vegas, NV – You probably noticed the last time you purchased a box of cereal, that the price has taken a record jump. The Consumer Price Index for breakfast cereal and bread saw its biggest increase in more than 30 years in February, at 1.8 percent. Rising fuel costs are partly to blame, but Gawain Kripke with the relief agency OxFam America says another major factor is the amount of food we now use to make alternative fuel.

"We're consuming almost a third of our corn crop to produce ethanol, which we are then burning in our cars. That's taking a lot of food off the market to put in our gas tanks, and it's driving the price of corn and other food products upward."

Kripke adds the rising cost also is making it more expensive for ranchers, in Nevada and elsewhere, to feed livestock.

"Some industries, like the livestock industry in this country, are facing real trouble because their costs are going up so high. It means they are getting real pressure on their profits."

Supporters of ethanol use say the alternative fuel is helping America reduce its dependence on foreign oil, but Kripke says some research shows it takes more energy to produce ethanol than the fuel puts out. And he notes ethanol's growing popularity has unintended consequences for poor people around the world.

"Food may be 80 percent of what they spend money on, and if the food prices are increasing even 20 percent, that really means people are going to not eat."

The U.S. Farm Bill is expected to set incentive levels for farmers who grow corn, as well as corn used for ethanol. Congress faces a mid-month deadline to come to terms on that measure.

Michael Clifford/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - NV