Perdue says hands are tied on direct pork and biofuels aid

Source: By Mark Dorenkamp, Brownfield • Posted: Monday, September 28, 2020

Ag Secretary Perdue is awaiting direction from Congress as USDA considers how to respond to pork and biofuel sector requests related to COVID-19.

During a webinar hosted by Minnesota Farm Bureau Thursday, Perdue was asked about relief for pig farmers who depopulated healthy animals and ethanol plants suffering with fewer drivers on the road.

“We had some provisions in our EQUIP program over depopulation, but we were not able to do what the requests were. Nor in the ethanol and biofuels industry at all from a processing perspective.”

He says Commodity Credit Corporation guidelines prohibit processor requests mostly because USDA is traditionally about the producer.

“And we’ve got limitations over how far we can go in that overall supply chain. Congress may address some of these, there have been conversations about a willingness to do that. Whether we get another COVID package or not remains to be seen.”

Perdue says he’s thankful the House passed a continuing resolution that replenishes the CCC, otherwise USDA would not have been able to pay for several critical programs including ARC, PLC, and CRP.

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