WASHINGTON — Indiana is ahead of the curve when it comes to recovering from COVID-19 physically and economically, said Jackie Walorski, U.S. Representative for Indiana’s 2nd congressional district.
“Ever since this started, my interest has been in saving Hoosier lives and livelihoods,” said Walorski during a webinar hosted by Indiana’s corn and soybean organizations.
Making sure farmers get the assistance they need has been a priority, she said.
“We’ve been working with USDA to make sure that as corporate America continues to pull out of this and has some kind of bridge to make it from A to B, that our farmers do, as well,” she said. “We’ve been working very closely with USDA.”
In response to the pandemic, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, which provides $16 billion in direct payments to farmers and ranchers.
“The USDA Farmers to Families Food Box is also partnering with regional and local distributors for $3 billion of fresh produce, dairy and meat to deliver to Americans in need,” Walorski said.
Trade conversations are continuing with the European Union, Canada, Mexico, China and other countries.
Walorski addressed ethanol concerns on the home front.
“I just signed a letter to President Trump urging him to stand with our farmers and deny any requests for blanket, statewide or nationwide RFS waivers,” she said. “The pandemic has severely strained the market for biofuels.
“Now is not the time for waivers that would undermine the industry, farmers or rural America. I look forward to working with the president and his administration on ways to invest and support biofuels so that our regional economies are in the best position to recover.”
Walorski thanked farmers for continuing to work hard in the midst of adversity.
“I can’t thank farmers enough for what they do,” she said. “They feed the world and they are such great stewards of the environment, great stewards of our economies.”