Farm group leader calls for Congress to pass disaster relief

There’s a growing chorus of people urging Congress to pass a disaster aid package to help flooded Midwestern farmers, as well as those impacted by hurricanes and the California wildfires. Iowa Corn Growers Association president Curt Mether (MEE-thur) of Logan says growers here and across much of the Northern Plains need federal assistance after widespread, prolonged flooding.

“They’re really hurting. A lot of them aren’t even going to get their crops in,” Mether says. “It’s one thing not to be able to do it and it’s a whole other issue mentally. You can’t do what you want to do! They’re going to need all the help that they can get.” Mether is calling on Congress to get past the Puerto Rico issue and anything else that keeps them from sending aid to those who desperately need it.

“It’s pretty sad, to me, when they turn things like that into a political battle, which that’s what’s happening with Puerto Rico,” Mether says. “I don’t know. Surely, they can come together on some kind of agreement.” An aid bill that failed in the Senate would have capped support for Puerto Rico’s food stamp program, as it’s run out of money, following two hurricanes in 2017. Back in Iowa, some farmers had many tons of grain that was in storage bins ruined by floodwaters. That grain isn’t covered by crop insurance, which only covers grain that’s still in the field, creating a predicament.

“The stored grains, that’s almost a whole other issue,” he says. “There’s no way to help them with that, really, unless there’s a special declaration. It’s not insured. There’s nothing for them. That would be a top priority.” Livestock producers have some disaster aid advantage over grain growers, he says, as they have the Livestock Indemnity program for help.