U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, is leading a bipartisan push to ensure contract swine growers get access to the pandemic relief they were promised—and that Ernst helped secure—after the Biden Administration neglected to mention any assistance for them in a June announcement of the aid initiative.
In a hearing last week, Ernst questioned a top nominee for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Robert Bonnie, about the Administration excluding contract swine growers from their announcement, requesting an explanation.
Today, Ernst is leading a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack—along with U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.)—urging that he ensures contract swine growers are eligible for the assistance Congress secured for them.
Ernst and the senators write, “Our livestock and poultry contract growers have been waiting patiently for USDA to provide financial relief that so many desperately need. 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.
They go on, “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.”
Late last year, Ernst helped pass a bipartisan COVID relief package that included assistance to contract livestock and poultry producers, as well as to agricultural producers, growers, processors, specialty crops, non-specialty crops, dairy, livestock, and poultry.