Letter to the Editor-Needed USDA Safety Nets in SE Colorado

 

US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue
US Senator Michael Bennet
US Senator Cory Gardner

RE: Drought Disaster in SE Colorado & FAILURE of USDA Safety Nets-Emergency Measures Needed

Dear Secretary Perdue, Senator Bennet, & Senator Gardner,

The past three years have been devastating for farmers in S/E Colorado, due to extreme weather events, that greatly diminished yields and destroyed crops, resulting in multi-year economic losses:

2018 – Drought

2019 – Freeze (May 22, 2019) … empty wheat heads, harvest June/July 2019

2020 – Drought (ongoing & threatening 2021 crops)

While the COVID pandemic has sharpened awareness and appreciation for agriculture, farmers in S/E Colorado have been miserably failed by gaping holes in USDA “Safety Nets” (crop insurance, disaster programs, emergency loans).   — Adding more salt to the wounds, S/E CO producers were omitted from COVID relief; CFAP totally excluded hard red winter wheat, while other commodities corn, milo, & livestock don’t fit into the “magic” formulas & dates)… and denied PPP & EIDL, because producers typically pay workers via 1099s vs. W2s.

Distressed producers who have suffered, the most and longest, with multi-year crises, have received little, if any, disaster relief; which is most “preposterous”, considering the government is distributing $$$Trillions$$$ in disaster relief, while the “worst hurt” small family farmers have received $0 (zero) relief.   (BTW: Kanye West, billionaire rapper/songwriter, reportedly received $5 Million in PPP)

The attached pages identify existing” USDA programs, that with just a few modifications would close the gaps and provide immediate and meaningful relief to long-stressed producers in S/E Colorado.

Respectfully, I request your prompt attention to help drought-stricken producers, and urge you to personally tour the USDA declared disaster …to taste, smell, and feel “DUST-BOWL” conditions …where normally productive soil, now “brown powder”, is causing livestock to suffocate in high-wind “dirt storms”, amidst thousands of acres of failed winter wheat crops with no moisture to plant 2020 spring crops and even jeopardizing 2021 crops.

Producers, and the public, are urged to contact the following officials, to express their concerns:

US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue          agsec@usda.gov

US Senator Michael Bennet                                austin_mccleery@bennet.senate.gov ……..202-339-1314

US Senator Cory Gardner                                   Cathy_garcia@Gardner.senate.gov ………..720-413-2279

CO Governor Jerod Polis                                     governorpolis@state.co.us ……………………. 303-869-9000

CO Ag Commissioner Kate Greenberg             kate.greenberg@state.co.us …… ……………303-869-9000

Thank You.

Sincerely,
Jillane Hixson
HIXSON FARMS
7943 County Road DD
Lamar, CO 81052

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