WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, joined Dirck Steimel for an episode of Iowa Farm Bureau’s “Spokesman Speaks” podcast to discuss her ongoing efforts to support Iowa agriculture.
Click here or in the image above to listen to the podcast episode.
On derecho recovery:
“Whether it’s the COVID-19 pandemic, a derecho, or the drought, 2020 has really been quite a year for Iowa’s ag community. Since the devastating derecho, I’ve been on the ground to hear from folks in the impacted areas and help where I can. I knew our farmers needed relief – which is why I called on USDA to grant Governor Reynolds’ request for a Secretarial Disaster Designation.”
Last week, Ernst urged United States Department of Agriculture 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.
On farmer mental health support:
“If there’s one thing I know about Iowa farmers, it’s that they’re resilient. But that doesn’t mean they don’t need support, and mental health struggles affect folks everywhere, including our ag community. And even before this pandemic and the derecho, I’ve worked to bring this issue to light.”
The senator led a bipartisan bill, the Farmers First Act, which has since become law, to help provide the nation’s agricultural community with critical mental health support and resources and address farmer suicide.
On Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule:
“Now, we need to make sure this rule is not undone by future administrations and replaced with the Obama-era rule, or an even more extreme version,” Ernst said. “That’s why I helped introduce the Define WOTUS Act, a bill to legislatively define the “waters of the United States,” and make a reasonable, workable definition of the term permanent.”
On the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS):
“As we know, the fight for Iowa’s renewable fuel industry, and our farmers, is not over,” Ernst said. “I’ll never stop being a relentless advocate for Iowa agriculture—holding EPA to their commitments and making sure the RFS is the law of the land.”
On COVID-19 Relief:
In the latest coronavirus relief bill, Ernst worked to include $20 billion in additional funding for agriculture to support producers, growers, and processors. The package also included a bill Ernst supported to allow farmers and producers to utilize the Paycheck Protection Program.
“Unfortunately, Senate Democrats let politics get in the way and blocked this bill,” Ernst said. “But I’ll continue to engage in discussions with my colleagues—Democrats and Republicans—on a pathway forward so folks can get relief.”
On Commodity Credit Corporation replenishment:
Ernst also called on House Democrats to replenish the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) which includes support for farm income stabilization, livestock programs, conservation efforts, and dairy programs. After Ernst’s push, Congressional leaders announced an agreement on a government funding bill that fully replenishes the CCC, as Congress has done in a bipartisan way for over three decades.
“Speaker Pelosi seemed to play some games this week with this routine funding, but it sounds like we pushed House Democrats to come to the table and get the $30 billion in the CCC,” Ernst said.