July 9, 2020

Contact: Christina Dexter, 816.738.5402 [email protected]

Iowa Farmers Union launches ads urging Senator Ernst to support

 farmers and clean energy workers instead of fossil fuel companies

The Iowa Farmers Union today announced the launch of radio and online advertisements calling on U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) to prioritize Iowa’s farmers and clean energy workers over out-of-state fossil fuel corporations during the consideration of future COVID-19 relief packages. The ad campaign will run across the Cedar Rapids, Davenport, and Des Moines markets throughout the remainder of July.

In April, Senator Ernst signed a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell urging them to bail out fossil fuel companies with CARES Act funds, resulting in millions of dollars in bailouts for major out-of-state oil companies.

But during a June 30 public forum with the Iowa Farmers Union membership, however, Senator Ernst remarked that she hoped that fossil fuel companies would not be eligible to receive COVID-19 relief funds. Her remarks can be heard approximately 5 minutes and 35 seconds into the recording of the IFU Facebook Live session.

“Our farmers were glad to hear Senator Ernst agree with us that polluting industries should not be eligible for federal relief funds,” said Iowa Farmers Union President Aaron Lehman.  “Sadly, this doesn’t fit with her earlier support of the fossil fuel industry. In addition to damaging our environment and our climate, these companies are doing everything they can to destroy our ethanol industry.”

Iowa’s clean energy industry has suffered greatly during the pandemic. According to early estimates, Iowa lost over 5,000 clean energy jobs in March and April alone. Similarly, an Iowa State University study estimated that the COVID-19 outbreak is responsible for billions of dollars in revenue losses for Iowa’s farm economy.

“Iowa’s farmers and workers need Senator Ernst to aggressively advocate for relief for agriculture and clean energy efforts here in Iowa.” added Lehman. “Support for out-of-state corporate titans that are responsible for decades of pollution is sorely out-of-touch with Iowa.”

A recording of the radio spot can be found here. The script is below:

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on our ag economy. Rural communities are struggling and Iowa farm families are suffering. Before the coronavirus reached Iowa, the clean energy industry was responsible for significant job growth that supported rural communities. But it’s now lost over 5,000 jobs. What’s Senator Joni Ernst doing about it? She’s calling for a taxpayer bailout for out-of-state oil and coal companies instead. Leaving rural Iowa behind. Tell Senator Ernst to put Iowa farmers and clean energy workers before Texas oil companies. Sponsored by the Iowa Farmers Union.