U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a longtime member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today discussed the importance of prioritizing farmers and ranchers across America, especially considering the additional challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thune, along with farm-state senators, including Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), continue to advocate for full funding of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC). The CCC ensures that USDA has the resources it needs to provide assistance to producers through farm programs.
Excerpts of Thune’s remarks below:
“Mr. President, while most sectors of our economy were thriving before the coronavirus pandemic hit, farmers and ranchers were struggling.
“Low prices, extended trade disputes, and natural disasters had meant a tough few years for agriculture producers even before the arrival of the coronavirus.
“Yesterday, I held virtual meetings with South Dakota farmers and ranchers and heard firsthand about the challenges they are facing because of the pandemic.
“Mr. President, agriculture is the lifeblood of my home state of South Dakota, and making sure our ag producers have what they need to keep feeding our nation – and the world – is one of my top priorities here in Washington.
“During debate on the CARES Act – our largest coronavirus relief bill to date – I fought to make sure that we included relief for farmers and ranchers.
“The final bill included $14 billion for the Commodity Credit Corporation, plus an additional $9.5 billion in emergency support to allow the Department of Agriculture to provide income and price support for farmers and ranchers.
“USDA has been putting these resources to work to provide assistance to producers in South Dakota and across the country who were affected by the pandemic, and they have been a lifeline to many farmers.
“But more needs to be done to support our nation’s agriculture industry.
“And part of doing that is funding the Commodity Credit Corporation in the continuing resolution.
“The Commodity Credit Corporation ensures that USDA has the resources it needs to provide assistance through farm programs, including the programs included in the bipartisan 2018 farm bill.
“Commodity programs, like Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and marketing assistance loans.
“Dairy programs, like Dairy Margin Coverage.
“Disaster programs, like the Livestock Forage Disaster Program and the Livestock Indemnity Program.
“These programs are a critical part of farmers and ranchers’ safety net, and we need to ensure that they are fully funded.
“Mr. President, later this morning my colleague Senator Hoeven will be hosting a colloquy to draw attention to the need to get USDA the resources it requires to help our agriculture producers weather this crisis.
“I appreciate Senator Hoeven’s work to highlight this issue, and I hope my Democrat colleagues will hear agriculture producers’ concerns.
“I will continue to do everything I can to help farmers and ranchers through the challenges they’re facing.
“And I urge my Democrat colleagues to work with Republicans to make sure USDA has the resources it needs to support producers.”