Issues of the Day

May 20, 2020

May 20, 2020

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by
the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association.
They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural
America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary –

President Trump held a meeting with farm leaders on Tuesday at the White House.
Secretary Sonny Perdue explained how the $16 billion aid package passed by Congress and
signed by the President two months ago would be divided up. This bill is the centerpiece of
President Trump’s effort to save farmers and ranchers. Farmers can sign up for relief checks
next week and after another week money, should be on the way. For some farmers the need is
urgent. Farmers could lose $16 per pig and $128 per head of cattle sold. I know that farmers
and ranchers are grateful for the support and help the President and Congress have extended. The
direct focus on rural America and farmers is something that I have never seen before. Why?

Well, with an election this Fall those votes could be the deciding difference. The other reason is related to the Coronavirus. The importance of food production and food distribution has been in the spotlight. Food industry workers from farm to plate were always overlooked. Not anymore. We all hope that our whole economy can get back to work.

Food and farm employees are working. Some restaurants are opening for customers with
necessary social distancing. Marvin Irby, President of the National Restaurant Association,
reports the industry has lost 8 million jobs and $240 billion in revenue this year.
There is one very important segment of our farm industry that has been overlooked. We
have not provided any money or credit for our biofuels industry. There is optimism now that
there will be another aid package coming in June. Ethanol is a very important market for our
corn. With planes not flying and many of our cars not being driven, the demand for fuel has
been soft.

One last issue focusing on the EU. The European Commission has a new goal –
“sustainable production.” They want to stop promoting meat – they say 10.3% of greenhouse
gases originate on the farm and 70% of that gas comes from livestock. I’m not ready to give up
my steak or pork chops and I don’t think they will either.
Until next week, this John Block reporting from Washington, D.C. If you would like to
review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go on-line to