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To the editor:
Ahead of the 2020 planting season, the ag community finds troubling signs in livestock production and our grains markets. I contract raise 20,000 hogs and graze 450 pair of cows, I see first-hand the unprecedented challenges farm families across Iowa are facing.
The packing industry has been controlling the market on cattle and that has produced a hardship that is unwarranted during this pandemic. Even now, greater pressure is being applied as packing plants are being shut down. Produces now face lack of market capacity to slaughter both hog and cattle. The trade agreements we were promised haven’t had the promised effect yet and COVID-19 has further moved attention away from the farm. It’s been a shame to see the national debt go past the point of no return and see people have to turn to the assistance of food pantries, through I’m thankful they’re here to help people in need.
Biofuels is the other key to our rural economy and it’s facing serious risk. Biofuel workers and their families need support from our leaders in D.C., who have been quick to give lend a helping hand to Big Oil. It’s critical our leaders understand the economic hardship confronting rural communities.
On April 8, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported an all-time high in ethanol stockpiles, with 45 percent fall in demand from blenders and refiners compared to the previous year. Those numbers are staggering. We’ve seen the impact in Iowa as several plants have had to make the difficult decision to slow production. Farmers across Iowa are hurting.
Senator Ernst and Secretary of Agriculture Naig have been advocating for much needed support for the ag community, and I hope D.C. is listening. COVID-19 presents a major challenge for agriculture, but with the right backing, we can continue feeding and fueling the world.