RED OAK, Iowa – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), chairman of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy, continues to fight for relief for Iowa agriculture, now calling for support and relief for Iowa’s dairy farmers.
In a bipartisan letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA),Ernst writes: “While few sectors of the economy have been spared from the economic impacts of the heroic efforts of Americans to contain the spread of the coronavirus, perhaps none have experienced the loss of markets to the degree of the U.S. dairy industry. For example, products typically sold to dine-in restaurants, that nearly all have closed due to social distancing requirements, are backing up in warehouses and much of the farm milk used to make those products no longer has a market.”
The Iowa senator, and her Democratic and Republican colleagues, go onto say: “Farm milk prices are on the verge of collapse due to this shift in consumer demand…In this case assistance for the dairy industry adds up to both help for farmers and nutritious food for the entire country. Support for Americans suddenly in need of food assistance is a national priority at this time of need. And economic stability for the dairy industry will help ensure that a stable and abundant food supply is available to the public at reasonable prices now and long into the future.”
Read the full letter here.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Ernst has made it a priority to continue listening to and hearing from Iowans across the state, including farmers and producers with Iowa Farm Bureau,Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, and many more.
Since helping secure critical provisions for Iowa agriculture in the bipartisan Phase 3 relief package, Ernst has called on the USDA to provide immediate assistance to cattle producers. In addition, Ernst urged USDA to get additional relief to the biofuels industry through the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) – which was bolstered by the bipartisan Phase 3 relief package. And just yesterday, the Iowa senator called for the Small Business Administration (SBA) to ensure Iowa’s farmers, producers, ranchers, and growers have access to the relief they need during COVID-19.
Background on Ernst’s efforts to combat COVID-19:
Senator Ernst has fought to deliver relief to all Iowans during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some of her efforts:
- Urged her colleagues to stop playing politics and provide additional support for workers and employers.
- Calledfor bolstering the small business emergency loan program, the Paycheck Protection Program.
- Deliveredmajor wins for Iowa’s workers, employers, health care industry, and more in the bipartisan Phase 3 package.
- Supported the “Phase 1” bipartisan package to provide additional resources to federal, state and local authorities.
- Helped passthe “Phase 2” bill to provide paid sick leave, free COVID-19 diagnostic testing, and increased support for nutrition for seniors and children.
- Urgedthe Senate to prioritize relief for hospitals, community health centers, and workers on the front lines.
- Sought additional relief for Iowa’s public hospitals, including rural, county hospitals.
- Announceda proposal to immediately redirect the over $350M in the Presidential Campaign Election Fund to be used to purchase specialized face masks and personal protective equipment.
- Called for additional relief for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence during COVID-19.
- Pushed the IRS to ensure survivors of domestic violence get their direct payments regardless of their place of residence.
- Askedthe State Department to immediately act to get Iowans stranded abroad back home.
- Soughttariff relief for Iowa’s businesses by calling on Treasury to defer all tariffs during the pandemic.
- Pressed SBA to clarify questions from Iowa farmers about access to small business relief during COVID-19.
- UrgedUSDA to provide additional funding for Iowa’s biofuels industry negatively impacted by COVID-19 as well as the state’s livestock industry.
- Tookquestions from Iowans in Dubuque and Siouxland areas on COVID-19 relief.
- Answeredquestions from Iowans in Quad Cities area on COVID-19 relief.
- Continuedto listen to and answer questions from small businesses across the state.
- Calledon two federal health agencies to protect Iowa’s Medicare beneficiaries from high-risk settings and ensure safe access to care as we continue to work to combat COVID-19.
- Helda telephone town hall with thousands of Iowans to help answer some questions and hear directly from folks.
- Hosted another telephone town hall with Iowa’s seniors and elderly community.
- Heard from hundreds of Iowa’s small businesses on her telephone town hall.
- Held a fourth telephone town hall with Iowans, specifically seniors across the state.
- Participatedin discussions at the State Emergency Operations Center with Governor Kim Reynolds.
- JoinedGovernor Reynolds at her press conference to give an update on federal relief efforts.
- Discussedthe need to work together – at federal, state, and local level – to tackle COVID-19.
- Publisheda column on everyone doing their part to protect seniors and fellow Iowans from COVID-19.
- Penneda column outlining the federal relief packages Congress passed and reminding Iowans we will get through this, together.
- Wrote a column discussing the relief efforts specifically for seniors and her work to protect Iowa’s elderly population from scammers during COVID-19.
- Calledfor an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.