WASHINGTON — On Friday, June 4th, U.S. Rep. John Rose (R-Tenn.) alongside U.S. Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.) and U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), led a bipartisan and bicameral coalition of 42 House and 15 Senate Members in urging U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to expedite relief to contract poultry growers hurt by the coronavirus outbreak.
In their letter, the Members ask Secretary Vilsack to expedite a rulemaking process to administer direct payments to contract poultry growers who have not yet received federal assistance.
The Members point out, “COVID-19 has severely affected the bottom lines of agricultural producers across the country, including many chicken growers in our home states. On Dec. 21, 2020, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which included additional resources for USDA to continue supporting American farmers. The bill also included funding for USDA to provide direct payments for contract chicken growers who previously had been excluded from assistance provided by the CFAP. We are concerned by the fact that these chicken growers still have not received federal assistance since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Rose was also joined by Representatives Rick Crawford (R-Ark.), Andy Harris (R-Md.), Diana Harshbarger (R-Tenn.), Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), Trent Kelly (R-Miss.), Ben Cline (R-Va.), Austin Scott (R-Ga.), Pete Sessions (R-Texas), Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), Buddy Carter (R-Ga.), Billy Long (R-Mo.), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Greg Steube (R-Fla.), Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), French Hill (R-Ark.), Elaine Luria (D-Va.), Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.), Michael Guest (R-Miss.), Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.), Dan Bishop (R-N.C.), Rick Allen (R-Ga.), Greg Murphy (R-N.C.), Jerry Carl (R-Ala.), Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), Ronny Jackson (R-Texas), Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), Julia Letlow (R-La.), Dan Meuser (R-Pa.), David Rouzer (R-N.C.), Barry Moore (R-Ala.), Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Michelle Fischbach (R-Minn.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Mike Johnson (R-La.), David Kustoff (R-Tenn.), Pat Fallon (R-Texas), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.), Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.), Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) and John Joyce (R-Pa.).
In addition to House signees, the letter is signed by U.S. Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-Pa.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas).
The full letter can be found here and below.
Dear Secretary Vilsack:
Thank you for your commitment to supporting American families and agricultural producers throughout their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. As the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) continues to assist farmers through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), we respectfully request that the Department expedite the rulemaking process to administer direct payments to contract chicken growers. We also encourage you to ensure that adequate funding is available for USDA to deliver these payments in full.
COVID-19 has severely affected the bottom lines of agricultural producers across the country, including many chicken growers in our home states. On Dec. 21, 2020, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which included additional resources for USDA to continue supporting American farmers. The bill also included funding for USDA to provide direct payments for contract chicken growers who previously had been excluded from assistance provided by the CFAP. We are concerned by the fact that these chicken growers still have not received federal assistance since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. We recognize that it is challenging to determine how losses and payments should be calculated fairly, given variations in the timing of when growers receive and finish raising their flocks. Still, we encourage you to proceed swiftly with making fair payments.
We appreciate USDA’s commitment to administering fair payments to contract chicken growers and your efforts to coordinate with industry stakeholders. Thank you for considering our request to expedite this process. We look forward to continuing to work with you to support our nation’s farmers.
U.S. Rep. John Rose is currently serving his second term representing Tennessee’s Sixth Congressional District and resides in Cookeville with his wife, Chelsea, and their two sons, Guy and Sam. The Sixth District includes Cannon, Clay, Coffee, Cumberland, DeKalb, Fentress, Jackson, Macon, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, Robertson, Smith, Sumner, Trousdale, White and Wilson counties as well as portions of Cheatham and Van Buren counties. Rep. Rose is an eighth-generation farmer, small business owner, and attorney and currently serves on the Financial Services Committee.