The spread of coronavirus and the world’s response to it has created a great deal of uncertainty in the U.S. and around the world. To help maintain beef demand and supply chain continuity, NCBA and KLA are actively engaged in the situation.
Since the onset of the pandemic, our organization has been in communication with participants from every sector of the industry, including ranchers, feeders, swine producers, dairies, processors, and foodservice and retail operators. In addition, NCBA staff in Washington, DC, continues to work with Congress and regulatory agencies to remove possible barriers to production. USDA has been contacted frequently to ensure their commitment to keeping graders and inspectors in packing plants. As of now, processors are operating and working through how to handle staffing issues due to illness. Gov. Laura Kelly’s commitment to sending PPE and rapid COVID-19 testing kits to key counties has been helpful. KLA sent a letter to Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) Secretary Lee Norman asking KDHE to adhere to Centers for Disease Control guidance regarding critical infrastructure workers potentially exposed to COVID-19, to reduce the opportunity for workplace disruption in agriculture.
Both NCBA and KLA staff have been in contact with Congress and USDA regarding stimulus packages and were instrumental in providing USDA with economic damage data for the beef industry. KLA President Harry Moser most recently sent a letter on behalf of the association to USDA Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue requesting an increase in the payment limit for livestock producers included in the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, which is being funded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
KLA and NCBA also worked to ensure agricultural operations were included in the Payment Protection Program. In addition, KLA and NCBA currently are working to ensure agricultural operations are eligible for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). It is expected Congress will include agriculture’s eligibility for EIDL in the most recent Small Business Administration funding package.
KLA President Harry Moser also sent a letter on behalf of the association to USDA Under Secretary Greg Ibach requesting the Packers and Stockyards Division of the Agricultural Marketing Service begin an investigation to determine if any violations of the Packers and Stockyards Act occurred following the first diagnosis of coronavirus in the U.S. on January 21.
Additionally, the Department of Transportation, upon NCBA’s request, has issued an emergency declaration waiving hours-of-service regulations for all hauling of livestock through June 14. Drivers wishing to haul under this exemption should print and keep in their cab a copy of the Extension of Emergency Declaration, which can be found below. NCBA and KLA also are working to secure a waiver for truck weights.
KLA will continue to communicate with state legislators, state regulatory officials, the governor’s office and members of the Kansas congressional delegation as new issues arise.
Coronavirus Food Assistance program (cfap)
ACTION STEPS TAKEN
- USDA's Response to KLA's Letter (6-16-20)
5. NCBA Letter to the White House (3-17-20)
6. Letter to NAMI and Four Major Beef Packing Companies (3-18-20)
14. Coronavirus Training Programs (Sample document)
Members are encouraged to contact KLA with any questions or concerns about the current situation.