WASHINGTON DC (September 18, 2020) — Senators Charles "Chuck" Grassley and Joni Ernst (both R-Iowa), members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, have urged the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue to take action to provide Iowa farmers with additional support and relief as they continue to rebuild from the derecho and recover from the drought.
“The damage from the derecho that swept through the central part of the state combined with D3 drought in large pockets of the state has devastated large swaths of Iowa farmland. That’s why we are appreciative of your quick action to designate 58 Iowa counties a disaster, so far. However, there are still additional items that we will need going forward to provide Iowa farmers relief and aid so they can begin to rebuild and prepare for next year,” the senators wrote.
Sens Grassley and Ernst urged Sec Perdue to provide further assistance to farmers and producers in the aftermath of the derecho, including a deadline-extension for crop-insurance premium due-dates, a stream-lined application process to replace grain-bins damaged from the storm, and ensuring future USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program payments are issued for base acres, not harvested acres.
While visiting Iowa, Sec Perdue announced his approval of Governor Kim Reynolds’ request for a Secretarial Disaster Designation for 18 counties impacted by the derecho, allowing Iowa producers to access USDA disaster programs and Farm Service Agency emergency loans. Sec Perdue’s announcement came after Sens Grassley and Ernst urged the USDA to grant the governor’s request.
Immediately following the derecho, Sen Grassley visited with city officials to discuss recovery efforts. He also surveyed damage, met with residents affected by the storm, and visited a local non-profit assisting in relief efforts.
This week, Sens Grassley and Ernst sent a letter urging the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission to investigate possible price-gouging and scams targeting Iowans suffering from the derecho, including farmers who sustained damage to their property or lost grain bins.
The Iowa senators also sent a letter urging the Secretary of Commerce to lift Section 232 tariffs on steel that would add millions in costs for Iowa’s recovery, especially for farmers needing to replace machine sheds and grain bins.