Agriculture Secretary and lawmakers aim to protect farmers during COVID-19 outbreak

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- You’ve likely seen it in grocery stores; barren shelves and empty isles.

With high demands, the food supply chain has been upended during the COVID-19 outbreak. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue says the administration is keeping an eye on beef industry price gouging and the financial well-being of American farmers. (Source: Gray DC)

With high demands, this half of the food supply chain has been completely upended in the age of COVID-19.

To prevent that, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue says the administration is keeping an eye on beef industry price gouging and the health of American farmers.

“These are demand driven barren shelves,” said Perdue. “We certainly don’t want to have supply driven barren shelves in the fall, which could be much more critical.”

It’s only been a few weeks since the implementation of ‘Phase One’ of the U.S-China trade agreement. Perdue says he is confident China will continue to make good on their promise.

“That level of trade that China agreed to, we feel good about right now,” said Perdue. “They are going to need our food more-so now than ever.”

In Washington lawmakers are continuing their efforts to find funding for relief. According to Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) some good news could be on the way for Nebraska farmers.

“Part of that is helping small business, that’s where our focus has got to be,” said Fischer. “And that includes agriculture.”

As part of Congress’s stimulus package, Fisher hopes farmers will soon see more government assistance including cash payments and tax deferments.

“We want to look at recovery for our economy while looking at needs that are continuing,” she said.

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnel has drafted a new phase of emergency legislation. However, democrats have expressed concerns about the proposal, saying it puts workers ahead of families. Debate on the legislation is expected to continue.

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