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SD Senator Thune wants more federal aid for livestock producers


Jerry Oster, WNAX - May 1, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC - Congress has set aside about sixteen billion dollars for livestock producers to offset prices that crashed due to the coronavirus pandemic and packing plant closures.

South Dakota Senator John Thune says Congress may have to come back to that fund.

“These payments are supposed to help. In considering the deteriorating situation we’re seeing out there due to the downward spiral in prices, you wonder if the $16 billion or so that is being allocated (with $5.1 billion going to beef, dairy and hog producers) is going to be sufficient,” he says.  “My guess is we’re probably going to have to look at ways to add to that. In light of the market circumstance we’re facing right now, it’s probably not going to be enough.”

Thune says conservation compliance will be part of any compensation program.

“I think anymore, anything that’s done in farm programs now has that caveat attached.  It’s one of the conditions that is imposed in the farm bill for any type of program payment,” he shares. “I know that meets with some resistance out there but I don’t know any way around that.  It’s just sort of a given that in most of the programs being designed these days, it’s automatic that conservation compliance will be included.”

Thune says they continue to push the Department of Justice to finish investigations into possible manipulation of the livestock markets – prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Part of it is we have to keep the pressure on. The ag groups need to keep the pressure on,” says Thune. “That Tyson processing plant fire happened in August 2019 and we got on it shortly after that. We asked for a study and they (DOJ) agreed to do it.  But here we are, waiting for the results.”

Thune says they hope to get some feedback on that investigation soon.



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