Senators Klobuchar, Smith urge USDA to increase pace of pandemic relief

U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, both members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, co-authored a letter to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack urging him to ensure contract pig farmers are eligible for pandemic relief. GOP Iowa Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley joined the Democratic Minnesota senators in sending the letter.

“Our livestock and poultry contract growers have been waiting patiently for USDA to provide financial relief that so many desperately need,” the senators wrote. “We’re concerned that USDA’s announcement on June 15 – that described its intent to finalize this program within 60 days – only focused on poultry growers and made no mention of providing assistance to contract swine growers.”

Since March, the Biden administration has delivered $7.3 billion to producers. In the past four months, growers have received $553 million in payments.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Klobuchar and Smith have worked to support Minnesota’s rural communities. This summer, they successfully pushed USDA to expedite and prioritize relief for farmers, livestock producers, biofuel processors, and timber harvesters and haulers. The senators also helped secure additional aid for agricultural producers and businesses as part of the USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers Initiative.

They concluded later in the letter: “We urge you to use all USDA resources at your disposal to make contract swine growers eligible for this emergency assistance provided by Congress, and ensure that they are fully aware of their eligibility.”

Full text of the letter can be found HERE and below.

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