Congressman Steve King announces that he is a signatory to a letter sent yesterday to the United States Department of Agriculture which requests that Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue 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 bipartisan letter is signed by 145 Members of Congress, and the effort was spearheaded by Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Catherine Cortez Mastro (D-NV) and Representatives Dusty Johnson (R-SD) and Henry Cuellar (D-TX).
“Our cattle producers stand on the front lines of America’s food security network, and they are facing increasing financial pressure due to market disruptions caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic,” said King. “It is important that the USDA ensures that resources made available to them under the recently passed CARES Act are quickly utilized to help mitigate the economic harm our producers are facing. Time is of the essence, and 145 Members of Congress are working together to urge the USDA to act quickly.”
The full text of the letter is reproduced below. The letter and its signatories may be viewed at this link.
The Honorable Sonny Perdue
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250
Dear Secretary Perdue,
We write to request 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.
Recognizing the market volatility and financial hardships producers are facing because of COVID-19, the CARES Act provides $14 billion toward replenishment of the Commodity Credit Corporation and an additional $9.5 billion for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to assist farmers and ranchers in response to COVID-19. While we do not know what the full market impact will be for the various commodities produced in our states, we recognize that there is an immediate need for assistance for our cattle producers.
We request that USDA consider data and estimates available from the Office of the Chief Economist and implement a program that would directly respond to the negative effect on producers caused by COVID-19. This program should deliver targeted, temporary, equitable relief to cattle producers in a manner that limits market distortions and negative effects on price discovery.
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.