DES MOINES, Iowa – In a letter to Vice President Mike Pence – the head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force – U.S. Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley along with Governor Kim Reynolds and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig are asking for additional support from the administration for the state’s pork producers.
The Iowa leaders write in part: “While the announcement by USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service that they are standing up an incident command is helpful and the Interim Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides useful steps for protecting workers, we urgently request the additional following resources and authorities, including invoking the Defense Production Act, that will be required to keep Iowa pork production viable:
To read the letter in full, click here.
This letter follows Senator Ernst’s statement on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) announced plans to establish a coordination center to help producers –like so many in Iowa – affected by the meat processing plant closures.
Ernst also joined a bipartisan, bicameral letter urging USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to take immediate action to assist pork producers and maintain the pork 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.
In addition, Ernst successfully pushed the SBA to ensure Iowa’s farmers are able to access Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), and as a result of relief package the president signed yesterday, farmers will have access to these loans. In the bipartisan package there is also increased funding for the EIDL program – which will help businesses, and now farmers, across Iowa.
Recently, Ernst hosted a telephone town hall with thousands of Iowa’s farmers and producers, and was joined by Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig.