Some members of Oklahoma’ s U.S. House and Senate delegation are speaking out against how the USDA is handing out funds to farmers and ranchers in the Emergency Relief Program. They’re suggesting USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and his agency are invoking woke privileges for some of the recipients of the funds.
“Farm policy must follow production. Instead of picking winners and losers, the USDA must ensure the farmers and ranchers who are actually raising food and fiber are the ones receiving this disaster support,” said Rep. Frank Lucas. “Furthermore, this underscores the need for a strengthened farm safety net in the next Farm Bill.”
Those who raised questions in a letter to Vilsack included Oklahoma U.S. Sen. James Lankford. Texas Congressman Jodey Arrington was even more blunt in his pointed questions about the USDA’s emergency funds.
“Disasters don’t discriminate against farmers based on their race or gender and neither should our government programs. The USDA’s 2022 Emergency Relief Program (ERP) gives higher disaster payments to producers based on the color of their skin and biological sex – rather than targeting farmers with the greatest need,” said Rep. Arrington.
“This is just another example of the Biden Administration using identity politics to drive public policy. These discriminatory and divisive practices have no place in America.”
- Nearly a year ago, Congress appropriated $3.7 billion in agriculture disaster relief to support farmers who suffered weather-related losses during the 2022 crop year.
- The administration rolled out the ERP 2022 program on October 30, 2023. This newest ERP methodology is deeply flawed and leaves many of those hardest hit by drought and natural disasters without the support they need.
- Earlier this year, Rep. Lucas joined a letter urging the USDA to revisit and amend their implementation of the second phase of the ERP 2021 program.
- Rep. Lucas also questioned Secretary Vilsack about ERP 2021 Phase two in a House Agriculture Committee hearing earlier this year, which you can watch here.
Senators James Lankford (R-OK), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Michael Bennet (D-CO), along with their colleagues in the Senate and US House of Representatives, raised concerns regarding the 2022 Emergency Relief Program (ERP) to US Department of Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack.