First the trade wars, then the pandemic and the derecho. They’ve all roiled the economy for Iowa farmers, folks living and working in rural areas, and anyone in an ag-related field. Even though commodity prices have finally picked back up in recent months, we know there is a long way to go — and fortunately, help is on the way with the American Rescue Plan.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack says the American Rescue Plan “not only boosts SNAP benefits through September, it also increases targeted nutrition assistance to mothers and young children and expedites more nutrition aid to U.S. territories. Farmers, business owners, and workers across the food supply chain will see additional assistance to respond to market disruption, as well.”
The federal American Rescue Plan will purchase more food from farmers for distribution through food banks, nonprofits and restaurants, helping to feed families in need and support farmers’ bottom lines. It also invests in livestock and animal health by providing funding to monitor COVID-19 in animals and reduce pandemic-related expenses for small meat and poultry processors.
At the state level, we should build on this help for farmers and rural Iowans. Senate Democrats have proposed legislation to do just that, including providing an additional $2 million to the Iowa Department of Agriculture to expand Double Up Food Bucks program, which connects low-income families with healthy fruits and vegetables grown by Iowa farmers (SF 273).
State Senator Zach Wahls represents Iowa Senate District 37, which includes Cedar County, portions of Johnson County, and Wilton in Muscatine County. Contact him at 515-281-3901 or email@example.com.