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Extreme Drought Driving U.S. Farmers To Kill Crops And Sell Herds; Indiana GOP Governor Latest U.S. Official To Visit Taiwan; Women Post Videos In Solidarity With Finland's Prime Minister. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired August 22, 2022 - 05:30   ET




CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Extreme drought conditions in the west forcing farmers and ranchers to take some desperate measures. They're plowing underwatered-starved crops, they're selling herds they can't feed.

A new survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation found half of respondents in California report fruit and nut trees are being removed in their area because there's just not enough water for them.

The squeeze on farmers will soon be seen on grocery store shelves, of course, with significant price increases.

Let's bring in Daniel Munch, economist for the American Farm Bureau Federation who wrote the survey report. Good morning. Nice to see you.

You know, you've got a --

DANIEL MUNCH, ECONOMIST, AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION (via Webex by Cisco): Good morning. How are you?

ROMANS: Great. You've got a litany of issues here that farmers are facing because of drought. Tell us -- tell us what your members are telling you.

MUNCH: Absolutely. So, as you mentioned, when we think about crop producers, just because of the extent of water shortages for multiyear crops, like orchards and vineyards, a lot of farmers are having to make the hard decision to remove these crops. And something important to remember here is that orchards and vineyards -- they are a large investment for farmers to make. For walnuts, for instance, it takes five to seven years for a walnut tree to produce crop and then it only lasts about 25 years to produce crop after that until the farmer has to replace the orchard.

So when we're thinking about water restrictions, they have to make very targeted risk management decisions on their businesses to figure out is this the best decision I'm going to make and how much revenue is this going to impact. ROMANS: Right. You --

MUNCH: On the livestock side --

ROMANS: Go ahead.

MUNCH: On the livestock side, we see farmers liquidating herds at an alarming rate, flooding local auctions with cattle and calves that are decreasing prices.


So these are just some of the examples of what we're seeing for farmers and ranchers.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Well -- and I think a big aspect that a lot of people think about -- obviously, you're much closer to this than the average American. Farmers are having to confront these decisions every day. But what's hard to visualize I think for people is how is this going to translate to me? So, how is this going to trickle down all the way to get to what will likely be an experience at the grocery store for everyday consumers?

MUNCH: Right. So, drought, like any major disaster, is going to act as a major supply-side restrictor. And like heightened production expenses and like inflationary pressures that we're seeing now, supply restrictors are going to increase prices for the end user.

Now, it really depends on the product, when it comes to drought, whether or not and at what timeframe that producer -- that consumers are going to see those price increases. For beef and cattle, for instance, the production cycle is so long -- two to three years before cattle is -- before a calf is sold at market, so there's going to be a lag time.

Our herd has been shrunk. Ranchers are liquidating herds quickly but there's going to be a lag until that breeding herd is actually smaller and then we have the resulting higher price in grocery stores.

For crops -- for specialty crops, you can see prices increase more immediately because that harvest is immediately contributing to decreased supply right off the bat.

So it really depends on these items when and where consumers will see price increases.

ROMANS: You know, farming is what I -- you know, I come from a family of farmers. Farming is one of the toughest and most rewarding businesses out there, right?

But it's not just the drought. You've also got these higher prices -- higher input prices for fertilizer and for feed. You've got all kinds of climate issues that farmers are worried about.

Just what are the -- how does this fit into the overall, I guess, strain for being an American farmer right now? MUNCH: Absolutely. It's just another addition to the many, many different factors that they're facing. And, you know, farmers are regularly challenged with weather. They're regularly challenged with all these different aspects that are impacting their revenue and their ability to produce, and that's what gets them to work every day -- is those items. So, this is nothing new to them but it is adding to the chopping block of things that are -- that are impacting their revenue.

We ran this survey as a -- as a way to better communicate the severity of the issues that farmers and ranchers are facing because they really want to bridge that gap that you spoke of between consumers, farmers, and where their food is coming from.

ROMANS: All right, Danny Munch. Thank you so much -- Farm Bureau economist. Nice to see you. Thanks for dropping by this morning.

All right. Ahead, late-stage cervical cancer on the rise in the U.S., and some experts think they know why.

JIMENEZ: And the terrorists behind a deadly 30-hour siege at a Somalia hotel.



JIMENEZ: In the capital of Somalia, at least 30 people are dead after a 30-hour siege at a hotel between security forces and members of an al Qaeda-linked group, al Shabaab. And the death toll is expected to rise.

CNN's Larry Madowo joins us live from Nairobi, Kenya. Larry, it is good to see you but, of course, this is an unfortunate story. Can you break down the details? What started this siege?

LARRY MADOWO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Omar, it all began when gunmen affiliated with al Shabaab essentially detonated several explosives outside this well-guarded hotel. They made their way into the building and began to shoot at staff and guests. They also took some hostages.

And that's what began this 30-hour-plus standoff between them and Somalia security forces. An elite counterterrorism force had to be brought in and for hours and hours, you had explosions and sporadic gunfire coming from this hotel.

The aftermath shows a hotel badly damaged. And authorities there tell us they are still digging through the debris hoping to find more bodies. The death toll could also rise because some family members decided to bury their loved ones instead of taking them to hospitals in line with the Islamic rituals.

This is the first attack that al Shabaab has carried out in the Somali capital since the election of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. During his campaign, he promised to neutralize that terror group. Al Shabaab has been described as -- by one sitting U.S. official as al

Qaeda's largest global affiliate. The U.S. Africa Command estimates that it's got between 5,000 and 10,000 fighters in the country.

We got a statement from the State Department condemning that attack and wishing quick recovery to those who were injured. And it goes on to say, "The United States remains steadfast in our support of Somali and African Union-led efforts to counter terrorism and build a secure and prosperous future for the people of Somalia."

Back in May, President Biden authorized the redeployment of about 500 U.S. troops back into Somalia. They are fighting al Shabaab and supporting the Somali military. And in recent weeks, we've seen a couple of airstrikes targeting the group, including one this past Sunday that killed 13 al Shabaab fighters, Omar.

JIMENEZ: And the scenes out of there -- the pictures are just horrible.

Larry, thank you so much for staying on it.

ROMANS: All right. Republican Gov. Holcomb of Indiana is the latest U.S. official to visit Taiwan amid escalating tensions with China. His visit follows a trip by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a U.S. congressional delegation visit led by Democratic Sen. Ed Markey earlier this month.

CNN's Kristie Lu Stout joins us live from Hong Kong. And what does this do to the tense situation already between Washington and Beijing?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: You know, Christine, it's interesting. There has been no reaction from China so far this day in response to the latest U.S. official to visit Taiwan.


As you mentioned, this latest visit by the governor of Indiana -- it takes place just, what, three weeks after the U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made her controversial visit to the island. It takes place a week after another U.S. congressional visit. Those two visits angered Beijing and Beijing responded by escalating military drills around Taiwan. But no such response this day.

Now, the Indiana governor touched down in Taipei on Sunday with his delegation. They will go and travel to South Korea as well. But in Taiwan, on the agenda was meeting business leaders, talking to academic institutions, and meeting with top officials -- including, as you see on your screen -- the Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen.

And she made some very interesting comments today in that press conference. She talked about the need to have a sustainable supply chain for Taiwan's semiconductors, which she described as quote "democracy chips." Take a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TSAI ING-WEN, PRESIDENT OF TAIWAN (through translator): Economic security is an important pillar of national and regional security. Taiwan is willing and able to strengthen cooperation with democratic partners in building sustainable supply chains for democracy chips.


STOUT: Now, the timing of this visit is very significant. It comes after the Biden administration, last week, pledged to start formal trade talks between the U.S. and Taiwan. It comes after U.S. President Joe Biden signed the CHIPS Act in order to boost American competitiveness in the semiconductor industry, and Taiwan plays a big role in that.

In fact, Taiwan's TSMC has already pledged to spend $12 billion on a new chip fab in the U.S. state of Arizona. And another Taiwan semiconductor company called Media Tech has already pledged to open a chip designer center in the U.S. state of Indiana.

Back to you, Christine.

ROMANS: All right, nice to see you, Kristie Lu Stout. Thank you -- Omar.

JIMENEZ: Singapore is set to repeal a colonial-era law that criminalizes gay sex.


LEE HSIEN LOONG, PRIME MINISTER OF SINGAPORE: Most people accept that a person's sexual orientation and behavior is a private and personal matter, and that sex between men should not be a criminal offense.


JIMENEZ: However, the prime minister there also said the country's legal definition of marriage stays between a man and a woman -- that would not be changed. And that laws will be strengthened to protect that definition.

ROMANS: All right. Coming up, Russia launching a murder investigation after that car bomb kills the daughter of a high-profile Putin ally.

JIMENEZ: And women all over Finland dancing in defense of their prime minister. That's next.



JIMENEZ: Women around the world are standing -- actually, dancing in solidarity with Finland's prime minister. Hundreds posting videos of themselves dancing to support Prime Minister Sanna Marin. She came under fire after two videos emerged of her partying with friends.

CNN's Melissa Bell live in Paris. Now, Melissa, I'm not going to ask you to dance or anything like that, but please break us -- break it down for us. Why are people dancing? And obviously, this seems to be her having a good time but it's become a pretty big controversy.

MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: It's become a pretty big controversy once those videos emerged last week, as you said, Omar. These were private videos. The Finnish prime minister regretting initially that they'd been leaked at all.

Nothing untoward had happened, she said -- nothing illegal. Certainly, under pressure thought from her critics. She did take a drug test on Friday to prove what she says is the truth -- that she's never taken drugs in her life, including in her teenage years.

She recognizes, of course, that the dancing was boisterous but says that it is important that she is able to do the things that a normal 36-year-old would do in her time off. She had no important meetings that week, no governmental responsibilities were left to decide. But she did come in for that fierce criticism.

Hence, this backlash that you've seen. As you say, women posting images of themselves dancing, sometimes boisterously, leaking them themselves as they put them in the post with the hashtag #solidaritywithsanna to show that you can be a professional woman -- a doctor, lawyer, all kinds of different professions that have been posting this -- and yet have a good time and have it seen publicly.

And, of course, that goes to the heart of what we're talking about. Here is a woman at the helm of a government who has been considered to have done remarkably well through COVID, shepherding Finland through -- out of its neutrality approach -- it's got that 800-mile border with Russia -- towards membership of NATO.

A woman who when she took power at 34 in 2019 was the youngest prime minister in the world. Even then she stood out in family photos. A lot was made of her looks. And again, she's being criticized for that image question.

What women are saying is that she is being held to higher standards, given that nothing illegal was done, than any man ever would be, Omar. And, no, I'm not going to dance. Let me reassure you.

JIMENEZ: (Laughing).

Yes. Honestly, you would be the first person to be able to pull that off.

BELL: Not this morning, anyway.


Well, Melissa, thank you so much, from Paris.

ROMANS: It's interesting. I mean, what -- I think what her critics might have thought was a weakness might turn out to be a strength, right?

JIMENEZ: Yes, yes.

ROMANS: You know?

JIMENEZ: Dancing was already online everywhere --

ROMANS: Yes, exactly.

JIMENEZ: -- so now there's a reason.

ROMANS: All right, let's get a check on CNN Business this morning.

Looking at markets around the world, you can see Asian shares have closed for their Monday session mixed. Europe has opened lower.

And on Wall Street, stock index futures are following that lead. They are down here. You're looking at maybe a 300-point decline in the Dow at the opening bell if this holds. Falling across the board after major averages ended in the red last week. The S&P 500 snapped a 4- week-long rally.

This week ahead is filled with really key economic reports, including new home sales, durable goods orders.

The Fed is expected to raise interest rates again when it meets -- next meets in September. The question is by how much? There will be a really closely-watched speech by Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell in Jackson Hole, Wyoming later this week. It may yield some clues.

Gas prices fell slightly over the weekend, again, now down to $3.90 a gallon.


All right, Walmart is expanding its health care plans for employees seeking abortion services. The Arkansas-based retail giant -- it's the largest private employer in the United States -- has 1.6 million workers.

The company says it will cover abortions when there is a health risk to the mother, rape, or incest. It will also pay for the procedure in the event of miscarriage, a lack of fetal viability, or an ectopic pregnancy, and will provide travel support if needed. These benefits are effective immediately.

All right, this is why I call them cost centers. Your children are even more expensive thanks to 40-year high inflation. Three hundred grand to raise a kid.

The Brookings Institution breaks it down like this. A married, middle- income couple with two kids will not spend around $311,000 to raise their second child born in 2015 through age 17. That's up more than $26,000 from the inflation rate two years ago. The estimate covers everything from housing and food, diapers, dance lessons.

A Brookings expert says people will begin thinking twice about having a first or second child because everything is costing more. Oh, but they're priceless. They're cute and priceless.

JIMENEZ: Cute and priceless.

And this side of things, we're going to go to the Little League baseball world. There is good news this morning for that injured Little Leaguer who fractured his skull after falling out of a bunk bed -- it's a really scary story -- after another fall over the weekend.

Andy Scholes, you've got this morning's Bleacher Report. But, of course, it has been a real journey for this 12-year-old.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Omar. Everyone's really been following this closely and hoping for the best of news. And doctors say 12-year-old Easton Oliverson is expected to make a near- full recovery.

But he had a big scare over the weekend as he fell and hit his head again. Easton was trying to go to the bathroom by himself, which he isn't supposed to do. Now, doctors performed a CT scan following the fall to make sure that there wasn't any more swelling in his brain. Thankfully, that CT scan came back normal.

And this happened just after Easton thanked all his fans for their thoughts and prayers.


EASTON OLIVERSON, INJURED IN BUNK BED FALL: Hey, this is Easton. Thank you for the prayers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you starting to feel better, bud?

OLIVERSON: Yes, I'm starting to feel better.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Awesome. Team Easton -- we love you, buddy.

OLIVERSON: Love you, too.


SCHOLES: Yes. Easton's teammates on the Snow Canyon team from Utah taking the field again yesterday after a rain delay of nearly four hours. They were eliminated with a 10-2 loss to the kids from Davenport, Iowa. Snow Canyon was the first-ever Little League team from Utah to make it to Williamsport in the tournament's 75-year history.

All right, the Orioles and Red Sox, meanwhile, playing in the big league game at Williamsport this year. And check out the Orioles players sliding down boxes on the hill with the Little Leaguers. And second baseman Richie Martin couldn't stop here. He actually ends up taking out a kid. It looks like everyone was OK, though.

The Orioles beat the Red Sox in that one 5-3. All right, believe it or not, the World Cup is less than three months away. And a rising star for Team USA, Brenden Aaronson getting his first goal ever in the Premier League for Leeds United against Chelsea. The 21-year-old forced the goalie there into making a mistake, and then a no-look tap-in for goal. That goal, the first time ever an American player scored for an American manager in the English Premier League.


BRENDEN AARONSON, LEEDS MIDFIELDER: It just goes to show people around the world that Americans can play football, too, you know. And we're out there and we're playing ball. We're playing for the English Premier League team and getting goals and assists. So we're out there, we're doing well -- and on the coaching side of things, too.

So I think it's only up and coming and there's going to be more and more talent over the future and making this trip over the pond. But yes, I mean, it's a great start and it's only going to get better.


SCHOLES: Yes. American Jesse Marsch in his first full season managing the Leeds. They beat Chelsea yesterday in a big upset 3-0.

All right. In the NFL, the Bucs expect Tom Brady back from his leave of absence any day now.


TODD BOWLES, TAMPA BAY BUCCANNEERS HEAD COACH: Like I said a week and a half ago, I said he'll be back this week. So, you know, that hasn't changed. We expect him back this week.


SCHOLES: Yes. Bowles -- Todd Bowles also said he doesn't know yet if Brady will play in the team's final preseason game against the Colts on Saturday. Brady has been away from the team for more than a week for what they called a preplanned, excused absence.

But, Omar and Christine, we don't know where he's been or what he's been doing. There's been no pictures of him anywhere. So maybe when he comes back this week he'll let us know where he's been.

JIMENEZ: Honestly, I'm still laughing at everybody sliding down that hill taking out that kid as he was going down. Like what's going on?

SCHOLES: Well, there's no brakes, you know?

ROMANS: All right.

JIMENEZ: Andy, thank you so much.

ROMANS: Nice to see you.

SCHOLES: All right.

ROMANS: Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans. You'll come back tomorrow?

JIMENEZ: I'll be back tomorrow, early.

ROMANS: OK, good.

JIMENEZ: I'm Omar Jimenez. "NEW DAY" starts right now.