Senator Ernst Wraps up her “99-County Tour”
Fresh off her “99-County Tour” of Iowa, Senator Joni Ernst says two of the top issues she heard from farmers and ranchers were inflation and supply chain challenges.
“This has been a really difficult time with the supply chain issues. One getting exports out to getting all of our goods into the United States and I have heard from a number of farm and Ag groups about this, many of them have commodities, but if they’re not delivered timely and out of the port’s, those products spoil before they reach their final destination. So, it is a big concern.”
She supports USDA’s new partnership with the port of Oakland to set up a 25 acre ‘pop-up’ site for empty containers, but wants to hear more from the USDA.
“Having a pop-up port is great, as long as it’s helping with the problem. I would love to hear those solutions. We haven’t heard those directly from the administration, which is why it’s so important that USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack come in front of the ag committee and explain what they are doing to alleviate these concerns and these pressures in the supply chain.”
Senator Ernst has also joined Senator Chuck Grassley to call on the administration to re-engage in trade negotiations.
“There’s a number of things that we need to look at, of course, China. With their phase one China negotiations, the deal that was cut in the last administration, China has fallen short of reaching its obligation. So, we need to reengage China. But we also need to look at a number of other packages, like the trans pacific partnership, we could reengage there or other bilateral, multilateral negotiations.”
Last fall, China formally applied to join the comprehensive and progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership, with Ernst says could threaten US market share.
“I think it would be very bad if China enters into the trans pacific partnership, and we don’t because then China has the advantage. And we know that when you’re trading with friends, you make allies. Trade is very important in stability between countries. So, we would like to engage in that as well and not lose that market opportunity to China.”
She says it’s also important for the administration to fill the vacant chief ag negotiator position with someone who truly understands agriculture.