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 provide immediate assistance to cattle producers in Iowa and across the country through the resources passed in the Phase 3 relief package. Ernst spoke with members of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association earlier this week.
Ernst and her Democrat and Republican colleagues write: “The COVID-19 outbreak has demonstrated the need for domestic food security…All farmers and ranchers are vital to our country’s ability to keep food on the table in a future pandemic or related crisis, and many producers, including young producers, are often highly leveraged and cannot fall back on years of equity in a time of crisis. As such, we urge you to quickly deliver relief to producers as we work to lessen the economic impact of this pandemic.”
Ernst and her colleagues note the importance of prioritizing assistance to cattlemen in order to help facilitate the stabilization of farm and ranch income for producers who are facing market volatility in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic fallout.
In the Phase 3 relief package, Senator Ernst helped secure critical provisions for Iowa’s agriculture community, including:
- Assisting food banks and pantries by providing funding for additional commodity purchases.
- Bolstering direct assistance to farmers and producers through the Commodity Credit Corporation and emergency support.
- Protecting the security of our food supply through additional funding for food inspections.
- Eliminating the excise tax for alcohol used to produce hand sanitizer and other supplies.
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:
- Delivered major 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 pass the “Phase 2” bill to provide paid sick leave, free COVID-19 diagnostic testing, and increased support for nutrition for seniors and children.
- Called for an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Urged the Senate to prioritize relief for hospitals, community health centers, and workers on the front lines.
- Announced a 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.
- Asked the State Department to immediately act to get Iowans stranded abroad back home.
- Sought tariff relief for Iowa’s businesses by calling on Treasury to defer all tariffs during the pandemic.
- Held a 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.
- Participated in discussions at the State Emergency Operations Center with Governor Kim Reynolds.
- Joined Governor Reynolds at her press conference to give an update on federal relief efforts.
- Discussed the need to work together – at federal, state, and local level – to tackle COVID-19.
- Published a column on everyone doing their part to protect seniors and fellow Iowans from COVID-19.