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Letter to Sonny Perdue, Secretary of the Dept. of Agriculture - Blunt, Hawley Join Colleagues in Urging USDA to Provide Immediate Assistance to Cattle Producers


By: John Barrasso, Mike Enzi, Tim Kaine, Mark Warner, Ted Cruz, John Cornyn, Mike Rounds, John Thune, Jeff Merkley, Ron Wyden, James Lankford, Jim Inhofe, Ben Sasse, Deb Fischer, Kevin Cramer, John Hoeven, Thom Tillis, Steve Daines, Cindy Hyde-Smith, Joshua Hawley, Bill Cassidy, Jerry Moran, Pat Roberts, Todd Young, James Risch, Mike Crapo, Joni Ernst, Chuck Grassley, Kelly Loeffler, David Perdue, Cory Gardner, Martha McSally, Kyrsten Sinema, Tom Cotton, John Boozman, Doug Jones, Liz Cheney, Alex Mooney, Ron Kind, Bryan Steil, Dan Newhouse, Morgan Griffith, Abigail Spanberger, Ben Cline, Denver Riggleman III, John Curtis, Chris Stewart, Rob Bishop, Brian Babin, Filemon Vela, Jr., Michael Cloud, Roger Williams, Will Hurd, Jodey Arrington, Bill Flores, Randy Weber, Sr., Mac Thornberry, Mike Conaway, Kevin Brady, Ron Wright, Louie Gohmert, David Kustoff, John Rose, Dusty Johnson, Jeff Duncan, Kendra Horn, Tom Cole, Frank Lucas, Markwayne Mullin, Kevin Hern, Anthony Gonzalez, Steve Stivers, Troy Balderson, Warren Davidson, Bob Gibbs, Bob Latta, Brad Wenstrup, Steve Chabot, Anthony Brindisi, Ben Lujan, Jr., Xochitl Torres Small, Adrian Smith, Donald Bacon, Jeff Fortenberry, Kelly Armstrong, Dan Bishop, Richard Hudson, Jr., David Rouzer, David Price, Greg Gianforte, Michael Guest, Roger Wicker, Trent Kelly, Jason Smith, Billy Long, Sam Graves, Peter Stauber, Collin Peterson, Tom Emmer, Jim Hagedorn, John Moolenaar, Andy Harris, Brett Guthrie, James Comer, Jr., Ron Estes, Steven Watkins, Jr., Roger Marshall, Darin LaHood, Cheri Bustos, John Shimkus, Rodney Davis, Mike Bost, Mike Simpson, Russ Fulcher, Steve King, Cindy Axne, Dave Loebsack, Abby Finkenauer, Rick Allen, Austin Scott, Greg Steube, Darren Soto, John Rutherford, Ted Yoho, Neal Dunn, Juan Vargas, T. J. Cox, Jim Costa, Doug LaMalfa, Bruce Westerman, Steve Womack, French Hill, Rick Crawford, Terri Sewell, Robert Aderholt, Mike Rogers, Martha Roby, Roy Blunt
Date: April 1, 2020

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.