ICYMI: Farmers Meet with Grassley During Annual 99 County Meetings
May 28, 2020
Grassley: “I have great hope for America”
Darcy Dougherty Maulsby
May 28, 2020
“People are more interested in where their food comes from,” said U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, a Republican who hosted a town hall meeting in Rockwell City on Wednesday at the Calhoun County Farm Bureau office. “If you want to know the importance of agriculture, remember that society is only nine meals away from a revolution.”
Grassley wanted to hear from Iowa farmers about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their businesses. One of the farmers’ first questions to Grassley focused on concentration in the meat-packing industry.
Grassley agreed that the high rate of concentration in the meat-packing industry isn’t working for livestock producers.
“Packers are putting the squeeze on livestock producers,” he said. “In the 1990s, I started working on the lack of price discovery in the industry, and we’re still fighting for this. I always say transparency brings accountability.”
In early April, Grassley called on the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate potential market and price manipulation, collusion, restrictions on competition and other unfair and deceptive practices under the U.S. antitrust laws and the Packers and Stockyards Act.
Other farmers asked Grassley about recent trade deals that will create new opportunities for U.S. ag exports, including the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and the Phase 1 deal with China.
“China has been making a good-faith effort to follow the trade deal, at least on ag purchases,” Grassley said.
Farmers also asked questions about the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and other financial assistance designed to speed relief across the American economy.
“The Paycheck Protection Program helped a lot,” said John Rosenboom, a Pomeroy-area farmer, Calhoun County Farm Bureau president and vice president and loan officer at Heartland Bank.
“We’d just as soon have good markets and a strong economy than payments,” Albright said.
Ensuring that Americans have the freedom to utilize their talents, work and contribute to their local communities helps America thrive, Grassley said.
“In the past 240 years, this country has been through a lot of things worse than this,” he said. “If we can maintain a system of limited government where people can pursue their own ambitions and goals, I don’t have any doubt we’ll come out of this OK. I have great hope for America.”