U.S. Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), co-chairs of the Senate Chicken Caucus, recently led a letter to Senate leadership and the Senate Committee on Agriculture highlighting the severe impacts COVID-19 is having on the U.S. chicken industry and requesting direct assistance for chicken farmers.

“As the chicken industry in Delaware and across the country continues to cope with reduced demand and processing capacity, chicken farmers have experienced a big hit to their bottom lines. In many instances, farmers are receiving fewer birds on a less frequent basis, and in some cases, they have been forced to depopulate millions of healthy birds,” Coons said.

“Although other famers have benefited from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, chicken farmers have not received any assistance and are in desperate need of our help. This bipartisan coalition is requesting that any future legislation addressing the pandemic includes direct assistance for chicken farmers who have suffered losses as a result of COVID-19.”

“While we appreciate that the recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act provides direct payments for agricultural producers through the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), this program does not provide assistance for chicken farmers,” wrote the senators. “We strongly request that any future stimulus legislation provide direct payments for chicken farmers who experienced revenue losses of at least 5 percent as a result of COVID-19.”

A bipartisan group of 17 senators joined Coons and Wicker in signing the letter, including Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-Pa.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), and Tim Scott (R-S.C.).

A copy of the letter is available online at https://www.coons.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2020-07-02 Chicken Caucus Letter Final With Sigs.pdf.