PNS Daily Newscast - March 27, 2020 

The U.S. now has more confirmed coronavirus cases than any other country. Despite the pandemic, Election 2020 continues and states are making changes.

2020Talks - March 27, 2020 

3.3 million people reported being jobless last week, according to new Labor Department numbers. And Puerto Rico was supposed to hold primaries this weekend, though they pushed it back to late April, because of COVID-19.

MT Farmers and Ranchers Watch Farm Bill Lame-Duck Limbo

PHOTO: Farmland near Lewistown, Mont. Photo credit: Deborah C. Smith.
PHOTO: Farmland near Lewistown, Mont. Photo credit: Deborah C. Smith.
November 13, 2012

MISSOULA, Mont. - Montana farmers and ranchers are watching closely as Congress gets back to work. While the so-called "fiscal cliff" is garnering the most attention, an expired farm bill is also still sitting on the "to-do" list.

Chuck Hassebrook, executive director of the Center for Rural Affairs, says rumors have been flying about the timing of a final bill, and he's optimistic.

"There's still a chance that it will be done before the end of the year. The key issue here is not just when it gets done, but that it gets done well."

Hassebrook notes key differences in the versions passed by the House and Senate, and calls the Senate version more friendly to Montana and other rural states.

"The Senate bill invests in small business development in rural America; the House bill does not. And the Senate bill invests more in beginning farmer programs. So, doing the farm bill right is every bit as important as getting it done soon."

Even though the bill expired, funding is being continued for federal crop insurance and the food stamp program, Hassebrook says, but some conservation programs are in limbo, as well as disaster programs, and funding was severely limited for rural entrepreneurship initiatives.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MT