PROMO Government - USDA United States Department of Agriculture Building Washington DC - iStock - Melissa Kopka

Kansas, Nebraska Senators urge USDA to make relief program rules less stringent

© iStock - Melissa Kopka
Tom Joyce

(The Center Square) - U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, and his Republican colleagues from Nebraska, Pete Ricketts and Deb Fischer, were among the more than 60 members of Congress who penned a letter to the United States Department of Agriculture expressing concerns about the USDA’s requirements for the Emergency Relief Program. 

The lawmakers feel the USDA’s 2022 ERP requirements are “misguided and losing sight of the relief program’s intent outlined by Congress when it was created,” according to Marshall’s office.

The requirements from the Biden administration, the lawmakers contend, have nothing to do with helping farmers deal with natural disasters.  

Rather, they feel the USDA is making it tougher for farmers to receive aid, which will hurt their ability to access the program.

“American producers have experienced significant losses, and the Administration has taken an approach that does not reflect Congressional intent,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter. “The current program does not provide needed assistance to full-time farm families that suffered the deepest losses, and in short, it misallocates limited but badly needed assistance.”

Therefore, the lawmakers want to see the USDA scrap its new plans and stick with the framework developed in 2021.

“While this program is already unnecessarily delayed, it is still imperative that USDA depart from its current path because of the major problems raised by producers and Congress,” the lawmakers wrote. “USDA needs to follow the law and Congressional intent to address the crop losses of our farm families without the pay limits and without preferences that are not authorized by the statute.

“We strongly request the USDA abandon this current program and implement the framework of 2021 ERP Phase 1 as quickly as possible,” the lawmakers added.