The agriculture secretary hasn’t done enough to support farmers, Rep. Markwayne Mullin says
By Diego Flammini
A Republican congressman is calling for major changes at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
“I’m sorry, but it’s time for (Agriculture) Secretary Perdue to step down,” Rep. Markwayne Mullin, a beef producer who has represented Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District since 2013, said in a social media post on Friday.
Part of Mullin’s reasoning for asking Secretary Perdue to resign is due to his response to perceived price gouging in the beef sector.
Cattle prices are low for producers, yet meat packers are selling at high prices.
The USDA should take action to prevent meat packers from taking advantage of producers, Mullin said.
“Something should be done about it and done about it now,” he said. “Because we’re messing with people’s livelihoods.”
Mullin further called for Perdue’s resignation in a separate social media post on Sunday.
The Small Business Administration distributed about US$349 billion from the US$2-trillion COVID-19 stimulus package to small businesses in about two weeks, but farmers haven’t received any payments, he said.
“Not a single direct payment through the department of ag has went to a farmer or rancher,” he said. “Not a single payment. Farmers and ranchers are businesses too. They employ people and they also feed us.”
USDA is currently working on the Farmers to Families Food Box program.
Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, USDA will purchase and distribute US$3 billion in fresh produce, dairy and meat.
Farms.com has reached out to USDA for comment.