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CNN10 2021-12-02

CNN 10

Impact Of Inflation On American Farmers; Effort To Help Rhino Population In Africa; Vanity of A Wayward Goat. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired December 02, 2021 - 04:00:00 ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Hi, I'm Carl Azuz. Two of the topics that have dominated the news in recent days are inflation, the rise in prices of the stuff we buy, and the Omicron variant of COVID-19. What happens when you put these two together? That's what economic analysts are trying to figure out. To be clear, no one knows yet what kind of impact Omicron is going to have.

The World Health Organization says the Delta variant, a previous mutation of corona virus, is still causing most of the infections worldwide, and as it began the spread earlier this year, Delta caused a lot of the problems we're still seeing with the supply chain. That's included factory shutdowns, shortages of manufacturing materials, and store shelves with less inventory. And the U.S. Federal Reserve, the nation's central bank, says the supply chain disruptions made the inflation problem worse.

Earlier this year, officials said rapidly rising prices would be transitory, or temporary, now the Fed's chairman is indicating that America's inflation may not settle down any time soon.

And a big reason why is that supply issues are hard to predict. They're not spread out evenly among factories, shipping, trucking, warehouses, and fears about the Omicron variant may add to the complexities of the problem. Because if it spreads like Delta did, or sickens groups of people who work closely together, more factory closures could be on the horizon and people may be hesitant to work with others in close quarters.

With a shortage of workers already causing challenges in several different fields, anything that keeps more people from working could only make things worse. But again, it's not known if Omicron will sicken people the way Delta did or if existing treatments and vaccines will work against the disease. So, it's hard to predict any sort of future economic impact at this point. The current impact continues to take a toll, especially on the nation's farmers.


GABE COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As Jim Jones finishes the sweet potato harvest on his North Carolina farm, skyrocketing costs are slicing through his profits. Are you seeing any more money from this inflation?

JIM JONES, NORTH CAROLINA SWEET POTATO FARMER: No. No. We're actually paying for it.

COHEN: The price of fertilizer, fuel and labor are way up with no ceiling in sight. How did your profit change this year ?

JONES: I would say maybe 10-15 percent.

COHEN: What about looking ahead to next year?

JONES: Add -- add that much more to it again.

COHEN: Despite those mark-ups at the market, many farmers say the price they receive for their crop isn't going up. So, your price is staying the same.

JONES: My price is staying the same, or a little lower.

COHEN: Why don't farmers just raise the price of their crops?

PATTY EDELBURG, VICE-PRESIDENT OF NATIONAL FARMERS UNION: Farmers are -- are price takers not price makers.

COHEN: Patty Edelburg is Vice-President of the National Farmers Union. Who's making the money from that inflation?

EDELBURG: Much more the middle-man than anybody else.

COHEN: The USDA confirms that in many cases, processors and distributors that get food from the farm to store shelves are the ones passing along their surging costs. With materials and ingredients still stuck on cargo ships, and a shortage of labor and truckers driving up wages and costs.

TREY MALONE, AGRICULTURAL ECONOMIST AT MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY: So to some extent, we're also trying to pay for the uncertainty in the marketplace right now.

COHEN: Trey Malone is an Agricultural Economist at Michigan State University.

MALONE: So, we're in a middle of a perfect storm of unique events in agricultural production. I would say, buckle up for a while longer of these higher input costs.

COHEN: Some farms are stocking up on materials in case suppliers run out. Others are waiting, hoping prices will drop. All these costs especially labor, are threatening Matt Alvernaz's California sweet potato farm.

MATT ALVERNAZ, CALIFORNIA SWEET POTATO FARMER: We were making, you know, $100,000 to $150,000 a year in profit. This year, we're probably going to lose $80,000 to $120,000.

COHEN: And it's only getting worse.

ALVERNAZ: We could potentially lose a quarter of a million dollars next year. We would not have enough cash to take into the following year, in order to get our -- our operating loan in order to operate for the following year.

COHEN: Farmers are used to volatility and both Alvernaz and Jones are now looking for ways to adapt, like downsizing or shifting to other crops.

JONES: It's going to worry you but I don't -- I ain't going to let it get me down. We -- we'll survive somehow.

COHEN: As long as these money problems stop piling up.

JONES: We just need to get a fair price for what we're growing.

COHEN: Gabe Cohen, CNN, Washington.


AZUZ: 10 Second Trivia. What is the smallest species of rhinoceros? Sumatran, Javan, White or Indian. Sumatran is the answer, though they can still weigh more than 2,000 pounds.

But our next story concerns white rhinos, the largest species which can weigh more than 7,700 pounds. There are two sub-species of white rhinoceros, northern white rhinos and southern white rhinos. The northern ones are on the brink of extinction. These are believed to be the last two left in the world, and they're both females.

Southern white rhinos were in similar danger in the late 1800s'. At one point, there were believed to be fewer than 50 of them, but thanks in large part to the work of a nature reserve in South Africa there are now thousands of southern white rhinos. Because they're still threatened by poachers, illegal hunters, dozens of these large animals have been flown to another African park, where it's hoped they'll reproduce and thrive for decades to come.


ZAIN ASHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Forty hours and some 3,400 kilometers. Thirty white rhinos complete a long journey from South Africa to a new home in Rwanda. It's the largest single transfer of the species, and a move to replenish the white rhinos struggling population. One largely devastated by poaching since the 1970s'. The journey was no easy feat.

White rhinos are one of the largest land mammal species and can weigh up to two tons. Following months of preparation, the partially sedated rhinos were transferred from South Africa Phinda Private Game Reserve. They boarded a Boeing 747 to Rwanda, to their final destination. Akagera National Park, a space that the staff of African parks believes will provide a safe haven for the threatened species.

JES GRUNER, CEO OF AKAGERA MANAGEMENT COMPANY: White rhinos are being persecuted on the continent. Their numbers -- they are not stable. They are on a knife edge. It could go either way. If something happened to Kenya or Tus Africa on this scene of white rhinos, that is where the majority of white rhinos are. Then white rhinos are really on the brink of extinction. So, it makes no better sense than to bring them to safe areas.

Areas we know where they would thrive.

ASHER: Gruner says the animals will be safer here than they were in South Africa, where he says three rhinos daily are killed by poachers.

GRUNER: We brought black rhinos here in 2017. They are thriving. We brought the lions here. They are thriving. We've proven as a management of the park but also with the government collaboration that it's a safe progressive place, and that we can ensure their security.

ASHER: Poaching remains the primary threat to these animals, targeted for their horns. There are only about 20,000 southern white rhinos remaining, considered near threatened. And only two females of another sub-species, the northern white rhino, on the brink of extinction. The 30 white rhinos are welcome editions to the park, which has seen a decline in tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic. White rhinos enjoy grazing in open spaces, so visiting tourists can expect to get a good look.

IAN MUNYANKINDI, DIRECTOR OF TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY FOR AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK, TRANSLATED: The white rhinos are going to be seen in the open spaces by almost all the tourists. So, it's going to be something that will really help a lot on the tourism side.

ASHER: Initially placed in two large enclosures, authorities say the rhinos will soon be able to roam the expansive park with plenty of room to grow. Zain Asher, CNN.


AZUZ: After a few days on the lamb, Steve is finally back in the pen. This is Steve. He's a goat. His day job along with a team of other goats is helping the city of Clive, Iowa keeps invasive plant species out of the greenbelt. They do that by eating them. But Steve recently went AWOL and spent four and a half days wildly roaming the city.

Finally, a family cornered him at a car dealership after he stopped to admire his reflection in the glass. Seems he traded his freedom up for his pride. You could say there's "mutton" to it, didn't cost him "hide". But all "kiddin'" aside, he'd still be on the "lamb" if he hadn't stuck his chin out to admire his "vanity". He made a "baaaad" choice. Said he couldn't be clearer that, he missed a "bleat" when he stopped to stare in the mirror.

You can't chew the "cud" reflecting on your own reflection. He should have "hoofed" it, "moved" in on ahead on any direction, but in working for the city he's sure to get the vote. That when it comes to escape, (inaudible) Steve's the "GOAT". All right. We love to recognize schools that use our show and put up with my pun raps. We find them exclusively in the comment section of our You Tube channel, and today's shout out goes out to Laguna Hills High School in Laguna Hills, California. I'm Carl Azuz.