Congressman Jim Baird was on a farm in southern Tippecanoe County Tuesday as part of an Indiana Corn Growers Association and Indiana Soybean Alliance Shop Talk session.
The congressman heard feedback from farmers about the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, or CFAP, which still has plenty of money left to distribute. Farmers there said that CFAP didn’t help grain farmers much and Baird said he’ll take that back to D.C.
“There are still funds available (for CFAP), that and the second round of the PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) and so on. We want to make sure that we’re tweaking those programs to do what we need to do for agriculture because it’s the foundation of our rural communities and, really, of our country.”
Democrats and Republicans are far apart on a new coronavirus stimulus plan. The proposed plans from each party include over $20 billion for agriculture, but it might be a while before anything gets done.
“We’re $1 trillion or so separate in our views and our perspective. I think the conversations that we had here at this meeting about the need for helping agriculture should be a part of that. The opportunity to get together is extremely important to our country and our economy. So, I think we ought to focus on getting through this coronavirus epidemic as well as making sure that our small businesses, and restaurants, and hotels, and the airline industry, manufacturing industry, all those have the opportunity to grow or get back to some kind of normal production capability. Until we can do that, I don’t think we ought to be looking at things that are not coronavirus related.”
Baird is a member of the House Ag Committee.