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Farmers need help from Congress to survive COVID-19 crisis

Farmers need help from Congress to survive COVID-19 crisis

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Curtis Meier, Clarinda

Pig farmers in Iowa are in crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If this is not addressed by Congress, we will see long-term damage exacted on an economic pillar - Iowa’s highly competitive, innovative and efficient pork production system - and the hog, corn and soybean growers who depend on it. There has already been considerable economic harm and, sadly, some of our farms won’t survive. Congress has an opportunity to limit the devastation in Iowa and the nation by including a recently introduced Senate bill - co-sponsored by our two Iowa senators - in the next COVID economic recovery package.

Specifically, we need the RELIEF for Producers Act, introduced by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), along with Iowa’s U.S. Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley. Among other provisions, the bill would compensate farmers who have to euthanize or donate animals and modify the Commodity Credit Corporation so a pandemic-driven national emergency qualifies for funding.

Previous congressional efforts are appreciated, but fall short of what is desperately needed to limit the bankruptcies, consolidation and concentration that lurk around the corner.

We urge Sens. Ernst and Grassley to redouble their efforts to get their bill included in the final COVID package.

As the nation’s top producer of pork, pig farms are a keystone of Iowa’s agriculture economy. As the saying goes, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” We urge Congress to work together to quickly pass the next COVID relief package that will help pig farmers, and all of agriculture, through this pandemic.

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