Johnson, Torres Small Introduce Bipartisan Farming Support to States Act

May 20, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) and Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM), both members of the House Agriculture Committee, introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to address the urgent issues facing America’s agriculture economy and food supply chain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the Farming Support to States Act would provide states access to immediate, flexible funding to ensure farmers and rural businesses have the tools needed to respond and rebuild more resilient supply chains right here in South Dakota. U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Angus King (I-ME) introduced bipartisan companion legislation in the Senate.

“Ag states like South Dakota have been uniquely impacted during COVID-19,” said Johnson, member of the House Agriculture Committee. “We need to maintain a strong ag economy for decades to come. The Farming Support to States Act will give states like South Dakota the boost we need and the tools to deliver local solutions. I’m proud to support this legislation and fight alongside my colleagues for ag country.”

“Over the past few months, New Mexico’s farmers and ranchers have faced unprecedented challenges – overnight changes in demand, unstable supply chains, and increasing losses – stretching our agricultural producers' resources to the limits. This pandemic has impacted every aspect of our rural way of life, but the federal response has not yet matched the severity of the crisis that rural communities are facing,” said Torres Small, member of the House Agriculture Committee. “The Farming Support to States Act provides locally-directed funding through entities like State Departments of Agriculture, Tribes and Pueblos, and local offices of the Cooperative Extension System. This bill allows those entities to make urgently needed investments and provide meaningful relief to support farmers and ranchers, helping to get them through this crisis.”

The Farming Support to States Act would provide $1 billion for food and agriculture aid to states like South Dakota with high agriculture production. Funds designated for a state could be requested by a Governor, State Department of Agriculture, or a range of other entities, with priority going to state entities and the boots on the ground.

“South Dakota producers have continued to face hardships that have been solely out of their control, whether its low commodity pricing, trade impacts, or uncooperative weather. COVID-19 has brought its own set of challenges for producers,” said South Dakota Lieutenant Governor and Interim Secretary of Agriculture Larry Rhoden. “This legislation will allow more opportunities to ensure a strong food supply chain for our producers, while maintaining and creating additional market access. Producers across the country have been hit hard by this pandemic and it's time to provide them some security."

Find more information on the bill here.

Find the bill text here.