After seven straight years of rural recession, compounded in recent years by unjustified retaliatory tariffs by China, U.S. farmers and ranchers were already standing on a precipice. Now, without immediate action by Washington, the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic may well push them over the edge.
It’s time for the federal government to step up and help farmers and ranchers when they need it most. Secretary Perdue announced on Friday a modest aid package that will bring some relief to the heartland. But we need to provide America’s farmers and ranchers with a comprehensive plan for assistance that ensures farmers and ranchers can continue to provide our nation with essential food and fuel supplies.
The government has rightly declared our farmers and ranchers essential workers and Congress is backing rural America with aid designed to help the economy during the pandemic. It’s a good step and one that will need to be revaluated as the true impact on farming and rural communities evolves. Now is the time to support our farmers and ranchers with strong farm policy.