Sen. Chuck Grassley

(Washington, D.C.) -- Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley is confident there will be help for agriculture in what will likely be the last major pandemic stimulus bill.

He’s confident that Congress could pass it soon, though Grassley is less confident of the amount. Grassley was asked about the American Farm Bureau’s request for up to $68 billion in Commodity Credit Corporation replenishment funds, plus more in direct producer aid.

“And, I would say, there’s going to be some help for agriculture, of some size, and I don’t know what that would be, but, it probably wouldn’t be the 68 billion.”

But Grassley clarified he wasn’t that specific with farmer constituents, and not to hold him to that prediction, especially when the needs of livestock producers and others are huge.

“Then, we have the economic loss of the depopulation. And so, we’re going to bring that issue up, when we bring up the next CARE package.”

Grassley says he and fellow Iowa Senator Joni Ernst will also push for feedstock subsidies for the ethanol industry, wracked by close to $3.5 billion in pandemic losses.

“What’s going to make our appeal credible, besides just the loss that ethanol’s had, and didn’t get any help last time, is if petroleum gets some help, or if we can show that petroleum’s already gotten some help, what was put in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.”

Corn demand lost to ethanol losses is put at 500 million bushels, another argument to help producers already suffering from severely-low commodity prices, compounded now by the coronavirus.

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