Minnesota Rep. Jim Hagedorn, a member of the House Committee on Agriculture, introduced legislation on Tuesday titled the “Livestock Producer Assistance for COVID-19 Damages Act."
"The ongoing pandemic and disruption to livestock markets has quickly moved family farmers to the brink of insolvency, something that threatens our nation’s food supply and the vibrancy of our southern Minnesota economy and rural way of life,” Hagedorn said in a release.
This bill expands the USDA’s Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm Raised Catfish Program (ELAP) to provide indemnity payments for farmers and producers unable to market livestock due to packing plant closures or reduced operations beginning on April 19, according to the release. The bill also provides appropriations and specific guidance for how the funds will be used.
COVID-19 has caused major disruption in meat packing plants across the U.S., resulting in supply chain disruptions and dramatic market losses, Hagedorn said in a release. Farmers must find alternative methods for housing animals while maintaining their health and safety.
“Until meat packing plants return fully online, many pork producers are left with no place to market their hogs, leaving euthanasia as the only option. Pork and livestock producers are suffering huge financial losses through no fault of their own, and it is imperative for Congress to step up and sustain our farmers during these incredibly difficult times,” Hagedorn said in the release.
USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) was designed to help the agriculture industry, however Hagedorn said the program does not cover income loss resulting from the recent meat packing plant closures.
“My legislation was crafted and introduced based upon several long discussions with local producers and industry leaders,” he said in the release.
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