Oklahoma Farm Bureau this week joined 25 state Farm Bureau organizations in urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to support livestock producers during the COVID-19 outbreak.
In a letter, the group asked Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to search for opportunities to provide relief to cattle producers dealing with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Cattlemen and women have lost value on their livestock due to the dramatic market drop that occurred in response to the pandemic,” the letter states. “Since the inception of the virus, live cattle futures have been down roughly 28%, posing a major threat to our nation’s cattle producers’ ability to continue operating.”
The letter requests that Secretary Perdue direct a portion of the $9.5 billion from the recently passed Coronoavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act to stocker and cow-calf producers.
“While we are pleased the CARES Act provides $9.5 billion for various agricultural industries, we must ensure struggling cattle producers receive enough assistance to help make up for the significant losses they have endured,” the state Farm Bureaus write.
The group of Farm Bureaus also suggested using the Commodity Credit Corporation’s additional borrowing authority to offset losses in the cattle industry and asked the USDA to monitor potential price manipulation.
The request follows a similar letter sent by 143 members of Congress, including Oklahoma’s entire congressional delegation, requesting assistance for the nation’s cattle producers.