Congressman Steve King announces that he has called Bill Northey, USDA Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation, to ask that the USDA develop a formula that favors producer income support over packer income support when determining how to distribute billions of dollars of recently approved COVID-19 aid. In making the request, King emphasized to Northey the need to prioritize the needs of producers ahead of those of the packers, given that ongoing market volatility has placed many family farms at risk of loss. King also reiterated the request he made of USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue that CARES Act aid be distributed quickly and efficiently.
“I very much appreciate Undersecretary Northey’s willingness to discuss how we can better assist our producers during this incredibly difficult time,” said King. “Every day, I hear from livestock producers about market distortions before and in the wake of the COVID-19 epidemic that threaten their feedlots, their farms, and their ability to have something left from their life’s work to retire on or pass on to the next generation.”
“I do not want to see farms lost especially when the USDA has been appropriated the means to save them,” King continued. “I am confident that Undersecretary Northey understands the importance of prioritizing aid to producers rather than to packers during this difficult time.”
King’s conversation with Northey comes on the heels of a letter King signed on April 1. In that letter, addressed to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, King and 144 of his colleagues requested that the USDA provide “swift assistance for cattle producers with the resources provided in the recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stabilization (CARES) Act to facilitate the stabilization of farm and ranch income to producers who are facing market volatility in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic fallout.”
The letter to Secretary Perdue, as well as the letters’ signatories, may be viewed at this link.