Rep. Jim Hagedorn seeks to make sure livestock producers make it through the COVID crisis

The November ballot in Minnesota will feature incumbent Jim Hagedorn, a Republican who worked for years in the U.S. Treasury Department. His challenger is Democrat Dan Feehan, and both men ran for the same seat two years ago.

Congressman Jim Hagedorn says that he is here to support farmers and ranchers, and that expanding access to trade has been a goal since day one.

According to Hagedorn, “The main priority I had going into office here in 2019 was, ‘how are we going to expand trade?,’ and the President has done a fantastic job with USMCA... I promoted that trade deal every single day I was in office, and they way I figured it is, if we couldn’t do a deal with Mexico and Canada, our best trading partners, how are we ever going to get anything done with China, or even Japan, India, and Great Britain.”

Minnesota hog producers were hard hit by the coronavirus. “We saw when we had packing plant disruptions and our agriculture workers were hurt and couldn’t go to work... Folks had to actually go out and euthanize their hogs and not even use the meat for the food supply, and then we had shortages in the grocery store, not because we didn’t have enough livestock-- we had too much... We are working on that to make sure that in the future we can mitigate all these issues,” he notes.

The congressman has also offered a new livestock risk insurance proposal, which would adjust the current LRP and set new reference pricing on livestock, to address current market volatility.

“I’ve offered a risk insurance program that would help people, so you sell in, you are losing money, but because there is an insurance program there, we can keep the operator sustained, get them up to 85 percent of production costs... So, we are going to keep at it,” he adds. “The whole goal of our farm bill is to meet the nutritional needs of our country, make sure that we have programs in place for our farmers to sustain them when times are tough, and make sure we have adequate food supply and supply chain issues aren’t a problem.”

He wants to ensure farmers are sustained through the pandemic under Farm Bill programs: "$14 billion dollars is another half step towards where we need to be; I think we need a new coronavirus relief package, especially to help our livestock farmers. Looking forward with the next Farm Bill, which is still a little ways off, I just want to make sure we implement this one properly, and I think some of these payment limits have to be looked at.”

Improving access to rural broadband is another priority. He states, “That’s something, I think, in bipartisan fashion we agree on. It’s time to just get it done. Let’s take whatever monies are needed, let’s get it out there, let’s get the technology for people. We saw during coronavirus when the schools shut down, and farm families had to travel into town and sit outside McDonalds, for instance, to get internet access. We can’t have that.”

This week he also introduce the bipartisan Farm and Agriculture Worker Safety Education Act, to expand rural health, safety, and education grants.

For full interview, click HERE.