May 14, 2020

Indiana Congressional Delegation Asks for FEMA Assistance to Support Livestock Industry during Coronavirus

WASHINGTON – Indiana’s Congressional delegation today sent a letter to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Peter T. Gaynor in support of the state of Indiana’s request for FEMA assistance for depopulation activities resulting from COVID-19 disruptions. The letter requests eligibility for existing resources under FEMA as livestock and poultry producers struggle to combat severe supply chain issues due to the coronavirus pandemic. Most affected is the pork industry, which includes 2,800 Hoosier farms marketing $1 billion worth of hogs every year.

 

“Livestock and poultry production is a vital part of Indiana’s economy with a $3.9 billion market value. Over 14,000 Hoosiers are employed by the pork industry, and another 7,000 are employed by the poultry industry. The impact of the coronavirus has been detrimental to supply chains as meat processing facilities cease operations to combat the spread of the virus. Livestock and poultry production is entirely dependent on exact timing, and disruptions due to temporary closures are extremely challenging for producers deeply concerned about animal welfare and economic stability,” the delegation wrote.

 

“Further, the use of proper depopulation and mortality management is necessary to protect the environmental health of the communities affected by this disaster. As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notes, during depopulation events, safeguards must be taken to prevent the transmission of livestock disease and to protect air and water quality. While the State of Indiana has committed resources to assist in this process, FEMA assistance is critical to ensure disposal events are conducted in a manner that best protects public health,” they added.

 

The letter was authored by U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) and signed every member of the Indiana delegation including Senator Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and U.S. Representatives Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.-01), Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-Ind.-08), Susan W. Brooks (R-Ind.-05), Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.-02), André Carson (D-Ind.-07), Trey Hollingsworth (R-Ind.-09), Jim Banks (R-Ind.-03), James R. Baird (R-Ind.-04), and Greg Pence (R-Ind.-06). 

 

The full text of the letter is available HERE and below.

 

The Honorable Peter T. Gaynor

Administrator

Federal Emergency Management Agency

500 C St. SW

Washington, D.C. 20472

 

Dear Administrator Gaynor:

 

We write to you today in strong support of the State of Indiana’s request for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance to conduct livestock and poultry depopulation and management of mortality due to loss of processing capacity from COVID-19.  

 

Livestock and poultry production is a vital part of Indiana’s economy with a $3.9 billion market value. Over 14,000 Hoosiers are employed by the pork industry, and another 7,000 are employed by the poultry industry. The impact of the coronavirus has been detrimental to supply chains as meat processing facilities cease operations to combat the spread of the virus. Livestock and poultry production is entirely dependent on exact timing, and disruptions due to temporary closures are extremely challenging for producers deeply concerned about animal welfare and economic stability. The possibility of depopulating between 13,000-17,000 hogs per day will be costly due to transportation, supplies, consultation, and manpower needed to ensure public health and proper environmental management.

 

Further, the use of proper depopulation and mortality management is necessary to protect the environmental health of the communities affected by this disaster. As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notes, during depopulation events, safeguards must be taken to prevent the transmission of livestock disease and to protect air and water quality. While the State of Indiana has committed resources to assist in this process, FEMA assistance is critical to ensure disposal events are conducted in a manner that best protects public health.

 

The Indiana delegation is grateful for the State Fund payments under the CARES Act, which may be used for livestock depopulation activities. However, we understand the significant strain on these funds and advocate for clarification that FEMA Public Assistance Category B Emergency Protective Measures can be used for livestock depopulation activities. Accessing this FEMA resource will allow our livestock and poultry producers to ensure the health and safety of Indiana citizens faced with many challenges from this pandemic, especially in rural areas. We encourage FEMA to provide appropriate assistance in accessing these funds through technical assistance in completing applications for reimbursement.

 

Thank you for your attention to the State of Indiana’s request in accessing support to mitigate the effects of livestock depopulation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we encourage your favorable consideration in order to safeguard Hoosiers.