COVID-19 is negatively impacting rural communities

The coronavirus pandemic is negatively impacting rural communities and many agricultural leaders are asking the Trump administration to include assistance for rural economies, farmers, and businesses when considering aid packages.

During a press conference by Focus on Rural America today, National Farmers Union President Rob Larew said aid must go to those who need it the most.

As we look at what the current administration is going to be doing, it needs to be swift, it needs to be targeted, and it needs to be done with an eye toward the long-term viability of these rural communities and for family farmers,” he says.

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says rural job creators like biofuel plants are hurting.

“So we need immediate assistance, we need a lifting of the regulatory burdens that prohibit the momentum and growth behind higher blends of ethanol, and then we need some regulatory certainty,” she says. 

Skor says annual ethanol losses are estimated at about $2.5 billion.

Former Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says the administration must be “very forthright about the assistance it can provide.”

“It’s time for the USDA to minimize the barriers to getting food supplies out to people in need and it’s time for them to maximize the creativity in terms of the assistance and help it can provide,” he says

Larew, Skor, and Vilsack joined Patty Judge, co-founder of Focus on Rural America and former Iowa Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Agriculture, on the press conference.

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