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Ernst Continues Efforts to Support Iowa’s Livestock, Poultry Producers

WASHINGTON—U.S Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, is continuing her efforts to support Iowa’s farmers and producers during COVID-19.

Ernst, along with fellow Iowan Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), introduced a bill that would support producers that are faced with euthanizing their animals due to COVID-19, provide resources for animal health laboratories as they develop solutions to defend against emerging animal disease spread, and give additional authority to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary through the existing Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to deal with removal and disposal of livestock for any public health emergency moving forward.

“Iowa’s hardworking farmers and producers have faced tough circumstances and decisions during COVID-19. Given the economic impact plant closures have had on their livelihoods and production, we must ensure they are getting the support and relief they need,” said Senator Ernst. “This bill is another important step in that effort.”

“This legislation is urgently needed to support pig farmers across the country and to preserve a healthy, dynamic and highly competitive pork production system. Without prompt government assistance, many generational family pig farms may go bankrupt. We urge Congress to quickly work together to make this legislation a reality. The consequences of inaction are too great. We are grateful for Senator Ernst’s steadfast support of Iowa pig farmers,” said Mike Paustian, President of the Iowa Pork Producers Association.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Ernst has fought to get Iowa’s producers the relief they need. In May, Ernst sent a letter to Congressional leaders asking for additional funding for programs at USDA that would provide relief for producers who are being forced to depopulate livestock herds.

Ernst welcomed the president’s action to protect workers, support the supply chain, and help livestock producers.

In addition, Ernst wrote a letter to Vice President Mike Pence calling on the administration to ensure the U.S. maintains a strong, secure 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, and successfully pushed the Small Business Administration (SBA) to ensure Iowa’s farmers are able to access Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL).