Sen. Chuck Grassley and Sen. Joni Ernst are worried about Iowa's pork producers and the nation's food supply chain as hundreds of workers at meat packing plants in Iowa become sick with COVID-19.
Two workers at a Louisa County plant lost their lives to the virus after it shut down because of an outbreak. A Blackhawk County Tyson plant is also seeing dozens of positive cases and could be the center of another outbreak, according to Gov. Kim Reynolds.
On Thursday, Sen. Chuck Grassley said in a phone call with President Trump that he is concerned about pork producers. In a letter signed by other Midwestern lawmakers, Grassley asked U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to take immediate actoin to assist pork producers and maintain the pork food supply chain.
Grassley said on the call, according to his staff, that hogs were being euthanized because of the hit to the supply chain.
“We hope this component of the supply chain is restored quickly. However, in the event that producers are unable to schedule harvest of their hogs, we request that you consider how to use your existing authorities and available funds to compensate producers for losses. Furthermore, we request that Natural Resource Conservation Service consider how to provide financial and technical assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program for affected producers, if needed," the members of Congress wrote in the letter.
500 independent family farms supply a Smithfield Foods plant that has indefinitely closed its Sioux Falls location after a coronavirus outbreak.