National Beef Wire
WASHINGTON (April 1, 2020) – The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) applauded a congressional letter that was sent today to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue, urging swift relief for American cattle producers who have been adversely impacted by the ongoing Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The letter was signed by a bipartisan group of over 145 lawmakers from both chambers of Congress.
“America’s cattle producers have been hit hard by the unforeseen financial challenges brought on by this pandemic. We thank each and every lawmaker that showed their continued support to rural families by signing onto this critical letter,” said NCBA President Marty Smith, a family cow-calf operator from Wacahoota, Fla. “We remain hopeful that USDA can quickly deliver this relief to the cattle producers that so desperately need it.”
The letter was led by Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) in the Senate, and Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-Calif.) and Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) in the House of Representatives. Other notable signers include Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Senate Agriculture Appropriations Chairman John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Senate Agriculture Appropriations Ranking Member Jeff Merkley (D-O.R.), House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), House Agriculture Ranking Member Mike Conaway (R-Texas), House Agriculture Appropriations Chairman Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), and House Agriculture Appropriations Ranking Member Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.).
The recently-enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act included provisions that replenished USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation’s borrowing authority back to the statutory cap of $30 billion, as well as made $9.5 billion in new appropriations available for use by USDA to assist livestock and specialty crop producers impacted by COVID-19. The letter echoes NCBA’s position that USDA must implement these new authorities as quickly and equitably as possible.