Wyden, Merkley Urge USDA to Provide Immediate Aid to Cattle Producers

Wyden, Merkley Urge USDA to Provide Immediate Aid to Cattle Producers

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today urged federal officials to provide immediate assistance to cattle producers in Oregon and nationwide by using resources from the latest coronavirus relief package passed last week.

The Oregon lawmakers said in a bipartisan letter from 143 House and Senate members to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue that replenishing the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) and additional emergency funding would help cattle producers facing market volatility in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic fallout.

“The COVID-19 outbreak has demonstrated the need for domestic food security,” the members of Congress wrote. “All farmers and ranchers are vital to our country’s ability to keep food on the table in a future pandemic or related crisis, and many producers, including young producers, are often highly leveraged and cannot fall back on years of equity in a time of crisis. As such, we urge you to quickly deliver relief to producers as we work to lessen the economic impact of this pandemic.”

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stabilization (CARES) Act passed last week and signed into law replenished the CCC and appropriated an additional $9.5 billion for USDA to assist producers, including livestock producers, throughout this crisis.

The full list of lawmakers signing the letter to Perdue is here.

A web version of this release is here.

 

Full text of the letter is below:

 

The Honorable Sonny Perdue

Secretary

U.S. Department of Agriculture

1400 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington, DC 20250

 

Dear Secretary Perdue,

We write to request swift assistance for cattle producers with the resources provided in the recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stabilization (CARES) Act to facilitate the stabilization of farm and ranch income to producers who are facing market volatility in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic fallout.

Recognizing the market volatility and financial hardships producers are facing because of COVID-19, the CARES Act provides $14 billion toward replenishment of the Commodity Credit Corporation and an additional $9.5 billion for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to assist farmers and ranchers in response to COVID-19.  While we do not know what the full market impact will be for the various commodities produced in our states, we recognize that there is an immediate need for assistance for our cattle producers.

We request that USDA consider data and estimates available from the Office of the Chief Economist and implement a program that would directly respond to the negative effect on producers caused by COVID-19.  This program should deliver targeted, temporary, equitable relief to cattle producers in a manner that limits market distortions and negative effects on price discovery.

The COVID-19 outbreak has demonstrated the need for domestic food security.  All farmers and ranchers are vital to our country’s ability to keep food on the table in a future pandemic or related crisis, and many producers, including young producers, are often highly leveraged and cannot fall back on years of equity in a time of crisis.  As such, we urge you to quickly deliver relief to producers as we work to lessen the economic impact of this pandemic.