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Ernst Week in Review

Continuing the Push for USMCA

Almost a year after President Trump signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), Senator Joni Ernst, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Energy and Rural Development, spoke on the Senate floor calling on Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats to pass this trade agreement with our nation’s top two trading partners.

Senator Ernst noted that while the House has found time to do a lot of things—like continue their partisan expedition toward impeaching the president, passing legislation without a pay raise for our troops, and spending a lot of “energy” discussing the job killing Green New Deal—they have yet to pass the USMCA trade agreement that will benefit Iowa’s farmers, manufacturers, and small businesses.

Click here or the image above to watch Senator Ernst’s remarks.

Senator Ernst also applauded the recent announcement of the U.S.-Japan trade agreement, citing the nearly $1 billion worth of Iowa exports sent to Japan in 2018, as well as China’s pledge to purchase additional agriculture products from American farmers.

Click here or the image above to watch Senator Ernst’s remarks.

Working to Expand Broadband for Iowa’s Rural Communities

Continuing her efforts to expand access to broadband in Iowa, Senator Joni Ernst is supporting bipartisan legislation aimed at improving the accuracy of broadband maps, which have proven to be drastically inaccurate in some instances in Iowa, so resources are targeted to areas where they are needed most. The bipartisan bill builds on Senator Ernst’s request to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to improve broadband mapping.

The Broadband DATA Act, or the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act, would enhance the FCC’s data collection process and improve accuracy in its mapping. The bill aims to enable federal agencies to better target the areas most in need of funding, close the remaining broadband coverage gaps, and ensure improved accountability and transparency.

Securing Resources for Mental Health Support for Iowa’s Farmers

Iowa farmers work tirelessly from sunrise to sundown, in the rain and the shine, to feed and fuel the world. Their work isn’t easy, and mental health issues, including suicide, are becoming all too common in the agriculture community. That’s why Senator Ernst worked hard to make sure her bipartisan bill to provide resources for mental health services to farmers was included in the Farm Bill.

Senator Ernst’s Facilitating Accessible Resources for Mental Health and Encouraging Rural Solutions For Immediate Response to Stressful Times (FARMERS FIRST) Act, which was included in the 2018 Farm Bill, is being implemented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This week it was announced that two Iowa projects will be receiving resources to help provide mental health support to Iowa’s agriculture community.

Iowa Awards:

AgriSafe Network, a national non-profit located in Peosta, Iowa, was awarded $480,000 in grant funds from NIFA for their grant application, which coalesces a group of partners in the southern region of the United States to form the Southern Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (S-FRSAN). The goal of the partnership is to deliver customized stress assistance services to the various agriculture populations across the region. Services are modeled off of a holistic approach to caring for the agricultural community by focusing on occupational hazards as well as individual, social and mental health components that may affect a farmer’s well-being.

Iowa State University’s project titled, Farm and Ranch Wellness, was also awarded $480,000 by NIFA, which seeks to develop an online resource database that connects farmers and ranchers to stress assistance programs, including stress hotlines and prescription drug abuse education to farmers, ranchers and their advocates located in the North Central Region.

Pressing Army Corps for Update on Flood Recovery Efforts

At a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing this week, Senator Joni Ernst, a native of Southwest Iowa, continued to press the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) on their efforts to rebuild levees damaged during last year’s flooding, and their work to improve flood protection infrastructure to combat future flooding.

Click here or the image above to watch Senator Ernst’s questioning.

Social Media Highlights

Click here or the image above to watch a video for National Popcorn Poppin’ Month!