Ernst criticizes Biden Administration over USDA farm subsidy program
WASHINGTON, D.C. (KTIV) - In Washington, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, of Iowa, criticized the Biden administration’s policy on farm subsidies that she claims prioritizes billionaires over farmers investing in their own businesses.
Ernst pointed out the U.S Department of Agriculture’s Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program has handed out $157-million in grants. But, Ernst claims $69-million of the grants went to three projects owned by billionaires. The Republican claims applications for producer-supplied, and producer-owned, start-ups have gone largely overlooked by the USDA. “What I find problematic is that taxpayer dollars are being doled out as free grants to billionaires while applications from farmer-owned startups like Cattlemen’s Heritage, in southwest Iowa, and West Liberty Foods’ expansion, are deemed unworthy through these grants,” said Sen. Joni Ernst, (R) Iowa.
Secretary Vilsack says the USDA is taking the steps necessary to evaluate every application. He told the Senate Ag Committee that the level of investment is based on the application people submitted. “Some of these plants are very small,” said Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. “The Charles City plant, for example, is very small. It needed $8 million and we provided it. The Cherokee plant needed several million dollars, we provided it. So, Iowa has received several grants already and I anticipate and expect they’re going to receive at least one more.”
Vilsack is a former, two-term Iowa governor, who has served as Ag Secretary under Presidents Obama and Biden.
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