Ernst, Grassley Urge USDA to Provide Assistance


RED OAK, Iowa—U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), chairman of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy, as well as her fellow Iowan Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) joined Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and 28 members of Congress on a bipartisan, bicameral letter urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue to take immediate action to assist pork producers and maintain the pork food supply chain. The letter follows the death of two Iowans and closure of the Tyson processing facility in Columbus Junction, Iowa.

“We hope this component of the supply chain is restored quickly. However, in the event that producers are unable to schedule harvest of their hogs, we request that you consider how to use your existing authorities and available funds to compensate producers for losses. Furthermore, we request that Natural Resource Conservation Service consider how to provide financial and technical assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program for affected producers, if needed,”Ernst, Grassley, and their colleagues write.

Full text of the letter below and can be found HERE.

This letter comes as Ernst hosted a telephone town hall with thousands of Iowa’s farmers and producers earlier today and spoke by phone with members of the Iowa Pork Producers Association. 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. Earlier this week, 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. And just yesterday, she called on the USDA to provide relief and support specific for the dairy farmers and industry that’s been hit hard by the coronavirus.