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Photo The Western Producer, Randy Vanderveen

NBA fights for inclusion in long-time USDA surplus food program


National Bison Association - October 7, 2020

WESTMINISTER, CO - The National Bison Association’s request for a $17 million purchase of bison meat under the Section 32 surplus removal program is being supported by 12 U.S. Sentors, led by John Hoeven (R-ND) and Michael Bennet (D-CO).

Section 32 of the Agriculture Act of 1935 authorizes the  purchase surplus food to be delivered to schools, food banks and households in communities across the country.

“More than ever, the bison industry needs support. An unanticipated over-supply of harvest-ready animals, drought across the heart of bison production territory, and the COVID-19 public health emergency have created an uncertain economic outlook,” the Senators wrote. “Existing authority under Section 32 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1935 (Public Law 74-320) allows the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make purchases of farm products to be used for distribution through the federal food and nutrition programs.”

Granting the National Bison Association’s $17 million purchase request would provide much needed stability and market relief for bison producers struggling in the current environment,” tSenators added.

 

As Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulation, Ibach oversees the Agricultural Marketing Service, which is considering the Section 32 request.

In addition to Hoeven and Bennet, Senators signing the letter were John Boozman (R-AR), John Barraso (R-WY), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Michael Rounds (R-SD), Tina Smith (D-MN), John Thune (R-SD), Cory Gardner (R-CO), John Tester (D-MT).

Dave Carter, executive director of the National Bison Association, said, “We deeply appreciate the support from these 12 Senators, and particularly the leadership from Senators Hoeven and Bennet, to support the bison producers across the United States. Their input to USDA is a very positive development for our request.”

In related news, bison ranchers have been frustrated as USDA first excluded them from eligibility for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) payments.  After petitioning the federal government in late March to request that bison producers be included in any COVID assistance package developed for agriculture, USDA excluded producers in May and July. Last month, USDA announced that bison producers were eligible under the second round of CFAP payments.

“Bison producers now have the ability to receive assistance in weathering the economic storm that has been wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dave Carter, executive director of the National Bison Association. “This is welcome news, and we thank everyone who helped bring our ranchers and farmers into this program.”

 

 



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