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Both Houses Marking Up Farm Bill

Finally, there’s movement in Washington on the farm Bill, and plenty of it. For the first time in history, both houses of Congress are working on the new farm bill at the same time. Mary Kay Thatcher, senior director of congressional relations with the American Farm Bureau Federation, told SFN’s Rhonda Garrison says she knows there will be challenges…

Its harder now to write a bill with an adequate safety net for farmers than it was last year. We knew that would be the case. As you have less and less money to spend the options for how you come up with that safety net get fewer and fewer. So the bills look a little more alike this year than they did last year. I still think food stamps will be an outstanding issue that will be very difficult. It seems crazy to think that we can’t come up with an agreement between $4 and $20 billion dollars, the Senate a $4 billion dollar cut, the House $20 billion, out of a $770 billion pot of money. But people are just engrained on wanting either way more than $20 billion or wanting zero."

Immigration Reform Bill Coming Together

Staying in Washington, The Senate judiciary committee has resumed work on the immigration reform bill. Correspondent Bob Fuss has a preview from Capitol Hill.

“The Senate Judiciary Committee dealt with almost three dozen amendments at its first meeting and picks up again today as backers of the bi-partisan coalition that wrote the immigration reform bill tried to hold it together. Key elements include strengthening the border, providing legal status and a path to citizenship to some 11 million illegal immigrants already here and letting more immigrants come legally, including a large number of seasonal farm workers.”

GMO Effects Still Undetermined

In cities and counties across the U.S. the labeling of genetically modified foods remains a hot topic. More from CBS' Stephan Kaufman…

“The labeling of genetically modified foods remains a controversial topic among consumers as well as dieticians. Is there a down side of GMO ingredients? Jessica Krangle, spokesperson for the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics says the verdict is still out:

‘The science behind it does not reflect that in human studies. We don’t have the evidence to support one way or the other.’

Among the most commonly genetically modified foods are corn and tomatoes.”

Famous Texas Swindler Dies at 88

Texas con man Billie Sol Estes, the colorful 1960s swindler whose case became a national sensation, has died. He was 88. He became notorious in 1962, when he was accused of looting a federal crop subsidy program in a scam involving phony financial statements and non-existent fertilizer tanks. Several lower level agriculture officials resigned. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.