Urgent! Please Contact Your State Representatives Today!
April 7, 2020
Contact Your Delegation to Urge USDA to Protect Bison Producers.
Dear South Dakota NBA Leaders,
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stabilization (CARES) Act stimulus bill enacted this week contains $9.5 billion in funds to assist agricultural producers, “including livestock producers, and dairy.” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, in consultation with congressional leaders, is just starting to develop the details in that package.
Initial discussions between congressional leaders and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue have been limited primarily to developing assistance for cattle producers. Last Thursday, the NBA Board of Directors unanimously adopted a resolution urging that any assistance package developed by USDA offer the same protection to bison producers as to any other livestock sector. The letter I sent to Secretary Perdue on Friday containing that resolution can be found by clicking here.
Because U.S. Sen John Hoeven (R-ND) is Chair of the Senate Ag Appropriations subcommittee, several North Dakota NBA members also contacted his office last week to urge that bison producers be included in the package. North Dakota Bison Association Executive Director Kevin Leir was on a conference call with Sen. Hoeven and other North Dakota members of Congress on Friday and stressed that point during the conversation.
Today, 140 members of Congress sent a joint letter to Secretary Perdue requesting “swift assistance for cattle producers with the resources provided” in the CARES Act. Members of the Senate and House from your state were among the signers on that letter. Sen. Thune and Rep. Johnson were the prime Republic Senate and House authors of the letter. Sen. Rounds also signed the letter.
WE NEED YOU TO CONTACT YOUR SENATOR AND/OR REPRESENTATIVE’S OFFICE IMMEDIATELY TO URGE THAT BISON PRODUCERS BE INCLUDED.
Here are talking points:
-Identify yourself, and stress that you are a constituent (or at least a resident in their state).
-The economic uncertainty created by the COVID-19 outbreak is hitting all sectors of agriculture, including bison.
-With restaurants and farmers’ markets closing, producers who rely on foodservice and direct markets are at risk.
-The impact is already being felt as reflected in the dropping prices for live bison offered during live auctions over the past 10 days.
-Bison producers need to have access to federal resources equal to the access made available to cattle producers.
-Many bison producers rely heavily on local and regional markets, and will be impacted by the estimated $1 billion in economic losses in those markets. USDA must make sure that the assistance includes these ranchers who rely on those markets.*
*The NBA today joined a coalition of 12 agricultural organizations that sent a joint letter to the Secretary urging the need for assistance for local and regional marketing.
Here is the contact information for the members who signed the letter:
Also, please forward this to anyone else who can help. Thanks for your assistance on this!
Executive Director – NBA
President – NBA