Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) led a letter signed by 17 other senators requesting direct financial assistance for chicken farmers that have been financially impacted by COVID-19.
“As the chicken industry in Delaware and across the country continues to cope with reduced demand and processing capacity, chicken farmers have experienced a big hit to their bottom lines. In many instances, farmers are receiving fewer birds on a less frequent basis, and in some cases, they have been forced to depopulate millions of healthy birds. Although other farmers have benefited from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, chicken farmers have not received any assistance and are in desperate need of our help,” said Senator Coons. “This bipartisan coalition is requesting that any future legislation addressing the pandemic includes direct assistance for chicken farmers who have suffered losses as a result of COVID-19.”
National Chicken Council (NCC) President Mike Brown added, “America’s chicken producers are extremely grateful for Senators Coons and Wicker’s leadership on this effort. The bipartisan nature of this letter, and of the Senate Chicken Caucus, is to be commended and demonstrates the urgency of this matter. We reiterate that the farmers who have been working to provide chicken on our tables whose business has been affected by COVID-19 should be provided financial assistance in the next congressional aid package.”
“While we appreciate that the recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides direct payments for agricultural producers through the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), this program does not provide direct assistance for chicken farmers,” the letter read. “As additional COVID-19 stimulus legislation is considered by Congress, we strongly request that any future bill provide direct payments for chicken farmers who experienced five percent or greater loss in revenues as a result of COVID-19.”
The letter was addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).
A bipartisan group of 17 senators joined Senators Coons and Wicker, 19 total, in signing the letter, including Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-Pa.) Tim Kaine (Va.), and Tim Scott (R-S.C.).
A copy of the letter can be found here.