WASHINGTON – In a recent bill, Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) announced a new bill last week to obtain aid for independent turkey farmers who were left out of previous COVID-19 pandemic relief packages in Congress.

Smith said independent turkey farmers were not given access to agriculture relief in the first months. She wants Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to include independent turkey farmers in the future. 

“As we work to help the agriculture industry weather the pandemic, we can’t leave out hard hit independent turkey farmers,” Smith said. “This is especially important for Minnesota – the number one turkey producing and processing state in the country. My bill will provide them with relief to help during these uncertain times. Looking forward, I’ll keep fighting to provide Minnesota agriculture with the resources they need.”

Smith received backing for her proposed bill by the National Turkey Federation (NTF) and the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association.

“The effects of COVID-19 have been felt throughout the turkey industry, and while independent turkey growers have seen losses related to the pandemic, they did not qualify for assistance under the first round of Coronavirus Food Assistance Program payments,” said Joel Brandenberger, president of the NTF. “Senator Smith’s bill recognizes the real losses faced by many small, family-owned operations and makes certain independent growers are eligible for relief programs.”