U.S. Senator Tina Smith Fights to Secure Coronavirus Relief for Independent Turkey Farmers Who Were Left Out of Past Packages

WASHINGTON, D.C. [7/30/20]–This week U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.)–a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee–introduced legislation to secure aid for independent turkey farmers who were left out of past coronavirus (COVID-19) relief packages.

Despite suffering losses, independent turkey farmers were not given access to COVID-19 relief for agriculture. Sen. Smith’s bill would direct Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to include independent turkey farmers in future aid programs.

“As we work to help the agriculture industry weather the pandemic, we can’t leave out hard hit independent turkey farmers,” said Sen. Smith. “This is especially important for Minnesota—the number one turkey producing and processing state in the country. My bill will provide them with relief to help during these uncertain times. Looking forward, I’ll keep fighting to provide Minnesota agriculture with the resources they need.”

“Turkey growers have not been able to access Coronavirus Food Assistance Program funds despite having been impacted by the pandemic.  Senator Smith’s legislation is a step toward keeping our farm families afloat as we deal with COVID-19.  We are grateful for her efforts and her willingness to listen and work with Minnesota’s turkey industry,” said Minnesota Turkey Growers Association President Paul Kvistad.

“The effects of COVID-19 have been felt throughout the turkey industry, and while independent turkey growers have seen losses related to the pandemic, they did not qualify for assistance under the first round of Coronavirus Food Assistance Program payments,” said Joel Brandenberger, president of the National Turkey Federation. “Senator Smith’s bill recognizes the real losses faced by many small, family-owned operations and makes certain independent growers are eligible for relief programs. The National Turkey Federation applauds Senator Smith’s introduction of this bill and her ongoing efforts to support turkey growers in Minnesota and across the country.”