Farmer relief work continues during COVID-19 pandemic

Sen. Jim Inhofe praised for introducing Relief for Producers Act of 2020

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From Staff Reports

WASHINGTON — Leaders in the agricultural community praised U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe for introducing the farmer relief program during the pandemic, the RELIEF for Producers Act of 2020.

“Farmers and ranchers across the country are working to operate in these unprecedented times,” Inhofe said. “When I spoke with members of the Oklahoma Pork Council in May, we discussed the strain COVID-19 has put on their production cycles and their need for relief moving forward,” Inhofe said. “That is why I am glad to introduce the Relief for Producers Act to provide a framework for producers and ease some of the burden brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. This legislation will help livestock and poultry farmers more easily and efficiently navigate a path forward as we battle this crisis.”

Legislation has been proposed that would provide relief to livestock and poultry producers amid the coronavirus pandemic. The bill, Responding to Epidemic Losses and Investing in the Economic would support producers that are faced with euthanizing their animals due to COVID-19, provide resources for animal health laboratories as they develop solutions to defend against emerging animal disease spread and give additional authority to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary through the existing Commodity Credit Corporation Charter to deal with removal and disposal of livestock for any public health emergency, according to a news release from Inhofe’s office.

“We thank Senators Inhofe, Burr, Ernst, Grassley and Tillis for their support of U.S. hog farmers who urgently need federal assistance to address this unprecedented crisis,” said NPPC President Howard “A.V.” Roth, a producer from Wauzeka, Wisconsin. “While plant capacity has improved, millions of hogs remain backed up on farms due to the COVID-created bottleneck, one that could have a lasting impact on hog farmers. The RELIEF for Producers Act provides a much-needed lifeline to thousands of farmers who could otherwise go out of business, leading to consolidation and contraction of the U.S. pork industry. We urge Congress to work together to quickly pass much-needed legislation addressing this crisis.”

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“Hog farmers in Oklahoma and across the country are struggling as a result of COVID-19 challenges,” said Oklahoma Pork Council Executive Director Roy Lee Lindsey. “We need immediate help to support pork producers who generate more than 12,000 jobs and $473 million in personal income in our state alone.

“Without additional federal assistance, thousands of hog farmers may be forced to liquidate their farm assets, leading to a more consolidated and less competitive pork production industry. We thank Senator Inhofe for his work on behalf of Oklahoma’s pork producers during this difficult time for our industry.”

“Oklahoma Farm Bureau appreciates Sen. Jim Inhofe’s work to address the critical challenges facing our livestock producers by introducing the Relief for Producers Act of 2020,” said Rodd Moesel, President of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau. “This legislation will provide relief to Oklahoma poultry and hog farmers who have experienced massive supply chain disruptions and historic losses during the coronavirus outbreak. Though the pandemic is far from over, the bill also will better prepare our livestock industry for future public health emergencies by increasing resources for animal health laboratories and expanding the authority of the Commodity Credit Corporation.”

“We are grateful to Senators Inhofe, Grassley, Ernst, Tillis, and Burr for their support to the livestock industry in our nation,” said Carlos Risco, President and Dean of the Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine. “The COVID – 19 pandemic has shown the vulnerability of our society to emerging diseases and the capacity needed for timely testing and surveillance. The livestock industry in the state of Oklahoma is no exception with the constant threat of the introduction of a foreign animal disease.  Inhofe’s leadership on this provision would improve animal health surveillance and expand testing capabilities of the Oklahoma State University Diagnostic Laboratory to avert the catastrophic effect that a foreign animal disease would have on the state’s livestock industry.”