Sens. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) and Joni Ernst (R., Iowa) urged Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to provide Iowa agricultural cooperatives with additional support and relief as they continue to rebuild from the derecho. This letter comes following a request the prior week that the Iowa Institute of Cooperatives made to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for assistance.
Following the derecho that swept through Iowa on Aug. 10, at least 71 grain elevators were either destroyed or heavily damaged at seven different cooperatives across the state, adding up to 57 million bu. of storage capacity that will not be available to farmers this fall.
“A key link in the agricultural supply chain is under serious financial pressure,” the letter said. The Iowa Institute of Cooperatives estimates that uninsurable costs, including lost production and reduced grain handling, will cost each location around $700,000.
Grassley and Ernst wrote, “This devastating storm came at a difficult time for the cooperatives and their members. The current economic impact of the coronavirus on the agriculture supply chain has lowered prices for Iowa's main commodities, corn and soybeans. Many Iowa farmers who make up the membership of Iowa cooperatives will be hurt by a combination of the coronavirus, drought and damage from the storm."
The senators added, “We ask that you consider the needs of Iowa agricultural cooperatives as they recover from the storm. Iowa farmers rely on agricultural cooperatives to deliver grain for storage and drying, market their commodities, order feed for livestock and buy their agricultural inputs. We look forward to hearing from you on how to best ensure cooperatives can bounce back to ensure the success of Iowa agriculture and Iowa’s agricultural cooperatives into the future.”