Ernst raised concerns heard directly from Iowans about regulatory barriers and called out the Biden administration for leaving rural America behind.
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, questioned United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack during an oversight hearing. Ernst raised concerns heard directly from Iowans, while traveling across the state from River to River, about their struggles under the Biden economic agenda and USDA’s blatant hypocrisy in supporting rural producers.
“We’ve already heard a lot about how this administration says they want to support rural America. But the reality is, President Biden’s agenda is all about printing money and not for the benefit of rural Americans,” said Ernst. “As I’ve heard firsthand from Iowans across our state – at my farm bill roundtables and farm visits – folks are struggling. They’re spending more, and getting less, especially in our rural communities.”
During her questioning, Ernst pointed out that $69 million in grants awarded through the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program (MPPEP) have gone to three projects owned by billionaires, while applications for producer-supplied and producer-owned start-ups have gone largely overlooked by the agency. USDA created MPPEP to give producers a fair chance to compete in the marketplace, but when it comes to implementing the program, the priority is going to billionaires and Iowa farmer-owned startups, like Cattlemen’s Heritage and West Liberty Foods, seem to be deemed unworthy.
Ernst questioned Sec. Vilsack on the criteria of the application process and sought further explanation of the allocation of MPPEP funding.
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