Lawmakers urge ‘swift assistance’ for cattle producers

Photo courtesy CattleFax

More than 145 members of Congress are urging USDA to provide “swift assistance” to cattle producers who have been adversely impacted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The lawmakers, in a letter to Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue, stressed the need for “targeted, temporary equitable relief”.

Nebraska cattle feeder Mike Drinnin, immediate past president of Nebraska Cattlemen, says developing an assistance program for cattle producers won’t be an easy task.

“Everybody’s working with the USDA now to try to figure out how these payments are administered—and, obviously, targeting that relief to the ones that are most affected,” Drinnin says. “That becomes really difficult.”

Drinnin says it’s not like cattle producers to ask for federal assistance, but this time is different.

“This is something right now that’s taken a tremendous amount of equity out of some people that have been just kind of beaten up here for quite a little bit,” he says.

In their letter, the lawmakers also stress that the assistance program needs to be crafted in a way that “limits market distortions and negative effects on price discovery.”

The economic stimulus bill passed by Congress included 9.5 billion dollars for “livestock, specialty crops and local agriculture”. 

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