WASHINGTON— Following a call with members of the Iowa Poultry Association and the Iowa Egg Council about the unique hardships facing the state’s egg producers, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), chairman of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy, is calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to support egg farmers impacted by COVID-19.
In a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, Ernst is urging the department to include egg producers in the Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program and to consider purchasing liquid egg product to distribute to families in need.
In the letter, Ernst writes, “Our farmers and ranchers are doing their part to help the nation navigate the effort to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. Iowa’s egg industry is no different. Iowa is home to over 55 million egg laying hens. Most of Iowa’s egg production goes toward supporting our nation’s commercial food service. With restaurants and other commercial facilities closed down or limiting operations, our egg industry has seen a drastic drop in demand and as a result some have had to dump product.”
Ernst goes on to ask,“Egg producers need to be included in the recently announced Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program. Receiving direct support will help these farmers survive this impossible time. USDA should also consider making purchases of liquid egg product to distribute to families in need.”
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Ernst has been fighting for Iowa’s agriculture community. Last week, Ernst joined other Iowa leaders in urging “immediate assistance” from the administration to support Iowa’s pork industry, and welcomed the president’s action to protect workers, support the supply chain, and help pork producers.
In addition, Ernst has written a letter to Vice President Mike Pence calling on the administration to ensure the U.S. maintains a strong, secure food supply chain.
Ernst also joined a bipartisan, bicameral letter urging Secretary Perdue to take immediate action to assist pork producers and maintain the pork food supply chain.
Ernst has also urged the administration to eliminate payment limits for Iowa’s livestock, dairy, and specialty crop producers, so they can get the relief they need during COVID-19.
In addition, Ernst successfully pushed the Small Business Administration (SBA) to ensure Iowa’s farmers are able to access Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). In the bipartisan package there is also increased funding for the EIDL program – which will help businesses, and now farmers, across Iowa.
Recently, Ernst hosted a telephone town hall with thousands of Iowa’s farmers and producers, and was joined by Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig.