RED OAK, Iowa – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), chairman of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy, hosted her fifth telephone town hall since the outbreak of COVID-19 today, taking questions from Iowa’s farmers and producers. Ernst was joined on the telephone town hall by Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig and State Executive Director at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency, Amanda DeJong.
Senator Ernst hosting a telephone town hall with Iowa’s farmers and producers.
“From our livestock and dairy farmers, to our ethanol and biofuels producers, everyone is feeling the impact of COVID-19. As I continue to listen to Iowans across the state, I’ve made it a priority to hear from our farmers and producers. Today’s telephone town hall allowed me to connect with thousands of folks in our agriculture community and discuss some of the issues top of mind for them – like the importance of making sure they have access to the assistance we provided to USDA through the Phase 3 relief package,” said Senator Joni Ernst.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Ernst has made it a priority to continue listening to and hearing from Iowans across the state, including farmers and producers with Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, and many more.
Since helping secure critical provisions for Iowa agriculture in the bipartisan Phase 3 relief package, Ernst has called on the USDA to provide immediate assistance to cattle producers. In addition, Ernst urged USDA to get additional relief to the biofuels industry through the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) – which was bolstered by the bipartisan Phase 3 relief package. Earlier this week, the Iowa senator called for the Small Business Administration (SBA) to ensure Iowa’s farmers, producers, ranchers, and growers have access to the relief they need during COVID-19. And just yesterday, she called on the USDA to provide relief and support specific for the dairy farmers and industry that’s been hit hard by the coronavirus.
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:
- Urged her colleagues to stop playing politics and provide additional support for workers and employers.
- Called for bolstering the small business emergency loan program, the Paycheck Protection Program.
- 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.
- Urged the Senate to prioritize relief for hospitals, community health centers, and workers on the front lines.
- Sought additional relief for Iowa’s public hospitals, including rural, county hospitals.
- 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.
- Called for additional relief for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence during COVID-19.
- Pushed the IRS to ensure survivors of domestic violence get their direct payments regardless of their place of residence.
- 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.
- Pressed SBA to clarify questions from Iowa farmers about access to small business relief during COVID-19.
- Urged USDA to provide additional funding for Iowa’s biofuels industry negatively impacted by COVID-19 as well as the state’s livestock industry.
- Took questions from Iowans in Dubuque and Siouxland areas on COVID-19 relief.
- Answered questions from Iowans in Quad Cities area on COVID-19 relief.
- Continued to listen to and answer questions from small businesses across the state.
- Called on two federal health agencies to protect Iowa’s Medicare beneficiaries from high-risk settings and ensure safe access to care as we continue to work to combat COVID-19.
- 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.
- Heard from hundreds of Iowa’s small businesses on her telephone town hall.
- Held a fourth telephone town hall with Iowans, specifically seniors across the state.
- 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.
- Penned a column outlining the federal relief packages Congress passed and reminding Iowans we will get through this, together.
- Wrote a column discussing the relief efforts specifically for seniors and her work to protect Iowa’s elderly population from scammers during COVID-19.
- Called for an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
For additional information for Iowans on COVID-19, you can visit Senator Ernst’s website, which includes resources for families and individuals, small businesses, and seniors.