Ernst, Grassley Urge USDA to Provide Additional Support for Iowa Farmers Impacted by the Derecho, Drought

The Iowa senators are calling on the agency to help address the unmet recovery needs of Iowa’s agriculture community impacted by the August derecho and extreme drought conditions

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, are urging United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue to take action to provide Iowa farmers with additional support and relief as they continue to rebuild from the derecho and recover from the drought.
 
In their letter, the Iowa senators write, “The damage from the derecho that swept through the central part of the state combined with D3 drought in large pockets of the state has devastated large swaths of Iowa farmland. That’s why we are appreciative of your quick action to designate 58 Iowa counties a disaster, so far. However, there are still additional items that we will need going forward to provide Iowa farmers relief and aid so they can begin to rebuild and prepare for next year.”
 
Ernst and Grassley urged Secretary Perdue to provide further assistance to farmers and producers in the aftermath of the derecho, including a deadline extension for crop insurance premium due dates, a stream-lined application process to replace grain bins damaged from the storm, and ensuring future USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program payments are issued for base acres, not harvested acres.
 
Background:
While visiting Iowa during Ernst’s final week of her 99 County Tour for 2020, Secretary Perdue announced his approval of Governor Kim Reynolds’ (R-IA) request for a Secretarial Disaster Designation for 18 counties impacted by the derecho, allowing Iowa producers to access USDA disaster programs and Farm Service Agency emergency loans. Secretary Perdue’s announcement came after Ernst and Grassley urged the USDA to grant the governor’s request.  
 
In the immediate aftermath of the derecho, Ernst spoke with Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig about the derecho’s impact on Iowa’s agriculture community. The senator also visited with Iowa farmers to see the storm damage firsthand and offer her support as they work to rebuild and recover.
 
This week, Ernst and Grassley sent a letter urging the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission to investigate possible price-gouging and scams targeting Iowans suffering from the derecho, including farmers who sustained damage to their property or lost grain bins.
 
Ernst and Grassley also sent a letter urging the Secretary of Commerce to lift Section 232 tariffs on steel that would add millions in costs for Iowa’s recovery, especially for farmers needing to replace machine sheds and grain bins.
 
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