Sen. Chuck Grassley

(Washington, D.C.) -- The longest-serving Republican Senator says he cannot remember another time that compares with the current coronavirus pandemic.

Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa was first elected to the Senate in 1980 and served in the U.S. House of Representatives for five years prior to that. When asked to put the current situation into context, Grassley thought of two recent events in particular.

"On 9/11, everything was shut down -- particularly the airlines," said Grassley. "And then we had the Great Recession starting in 2008. I think this is bigger than those two put together."

Grassley says the current slowdown in the economy is putting the squeeze on Iowa's farmers.

"We didn't have good prices at $3.70, but that's a lot than $3.05 for corn and soybeans sometimes below $8," said Grassley.

Grassley hopes provisions in the recently passed phase three relief bill will help ease some stress in the ag community.

"There's more borrowing authority for the Commodity Credit Corporation and there's authority to cover meat like the previous help because of the Chinese tariff, which didn't do anything except for grain and other kinds of non-meat agricultural products," said Grassley.  

Additionally, the law includes funding for the Reconnect broadband loan and grant program and grants Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue the authority to extend the term of crops that are in the Marketing Assistance Loan program for an additional three months.