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Iowa Farmers Union New Ads: Farmers are Struggling
Iowa Ag Connection - 07/31/2020

The Iowa Farmers Union Thursday announced the launch of new radio and online advertisements calling on U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) to stand up for farmers instead of out-of-state fossil fuel corporations during the consideration of future COVID-19 relief packages. The ad campaign will run across eastern Iowa, including Cedar Rapids in addition to the Des Moines media markets throughout August.

In April, Senator Ernst signed a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell urging them to bail out fossil fuel companies with CARES Act funds, resulting in millions of dollars in bailouts for major out-of-state oil companies. The Iowa Farmers Union asked Senator Ernst to defend her support for oil and gas at a time when farmers face reduced revenues, smaller markets, and lost inputs.

While the Farmers Union has had interactions with Senator Ernst and her office about pending climate legislation and other related issues, Senator Ernst has not responded to the letter from the Iowa Farmers Union.

In fact, during a June 30 forum with the Iowa Farmers Union Senator Ernst exclaimed that she hoped fossil fuel companies would not be eligible to receive COVID-19 relief funds. Her remarks can be heard approximately 5 minutes and 35 seconds into the recording of the IFU Facebook Live session.

"Our farmers are hurting," said Iowa Farmers Union President Aaron Lehman. "Iowa's clean energy workers are hurting. Fossil fuel companies don't deserve a bailout."

Iowa's clean energy industry has suffered greatly during the pandemic. According to early estimates, Iowa lost over 5,000 clean energy jobs in March and April alone. Similarly, an Iowa State University study estimated that the COVID-19 outbreak is responsible for billions of dollars in revenue losses for Iowa's farm economy, and the end is nowhere in sight.

"Senator Ernst made a specific ask for oil and gas in April," added Lehman. "Today, oil and gas prices are back to where they were before the pandemic. These are the same multi-national corporations that have tried to destroy the ethanol industry for years and they are no friend of Iowa farmers."

"Meanwhile, prices for farm products have not recovered. Corn and soybean prices are nearly at pandemic lows. Rural communities have had the rug pulled out from under them."

"Our farmers, their families and communities cannot continue to wait. We need assistance and we need answers about the priorities of this congress. Should fossil fuel companies get pandemic relief or should those funds go to help Iowa farmers and clean energy workers? The answer should be clear."


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