Tag Archives: Senator Deb Fischer

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, appeared on America’s Newsroom on Fox News, where she outlined the severe consequences of the outbreak of COVID-19 on agriculture and called for an investigation into possible anticompetitive behavior in the beef supply chain.

“Right now, we are seeing great prices for the packers. I understand that markets cycle up and down but when you have such a discrepancy in prices compared to the family famer working on his ranch to produce that critter which is going to end up as a good steak, that needs to be looked into…We want to make sure we have a supply chain that works well for all participants—and we also want to make sure we have good protein on our shelves,” said Senator Fischer during the interview.

More information:

Senator Fischer has taken steps in recent months to protect Nebraska agriculture and ensure integrity in the beef supply chain. This week, she supported a letter written by 10 state attorneys general calling for the Department of Justice to investigate potential anticompetitive activity in the cattle industry.

Senator Fischer also wrote to Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee leadership calling for a public hearing to examine competition and claims of possible market manipulation. Consequently, Chairman Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Ranking Member Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) wrote their own letter to the DoJ calling for investigations into potential anticompetitive activity.

On April 18, the Bureau of Reclamation announced a new designation of funds requested for the Gering-Ft. Laramie irrigation canal as emergency funds. The change came about after Nebraska Senators Ben Sasse and Deb Fischer and Representative Adrian Smith urged the Bureau to make the emergency designation. The new emergency fund designation saves the irrigation district approximately $800,000.

“This is great news for the water users in the Gering-Ft. Laramie Irrigation District. The farmers and ranchers in this area have slogged through a season of uncertainty, wondering if there would be enough water for sugar beets, corn, dry beans, and alfalfa. With the work that is needed to get the repairs completed before the 2020 irrigation season, this is good news from the Bureau of Reclamation,” said Sasse. 

The $2.3 million from the Bureau was set up as a loan. When tunnel number two collapsed in July of 2019, inspections were required of tunnels one and three, which the district and others saw as emergency repairs.

“Mark Limbaugh, our D.C. representative, our attorneys, and the district sent letters to ask for it to be designated as an emergency repair,” said Rick Preston, district manager at Gering-Ft.Laramie Irrigation District. “They (Bureau) finally agreed if it hadn’t been for tunnel number two these repairs wouldn’t have been an emergency.”

The balance of the grant will be in the form of a loan. Savings from the designation will bring down the cost per acre to the water user for the next 50 years if the district has to go into a loan. 

The district is still trying to find monies to soften the cost of the loan. 

“We’re also waiting on the state of Nebraska to make the $3.8 million available in the Governor’s (Pete Ricketts) budget, but that’s not happening as our senators were sent home by Covid-19,” Preston said. 

When the legislature re-adjourns, Preston believes the money will be made available to the district. 

“On be behalf of the landowners, we appreciate the work of our congressional delegation for the efforts to secure this funding. The 35 percent designated as a grant will be appreciated and is a relief for landowners,” said Robert Busch, landowner and Board Member of the Gering-Ft. Laramie Irrigation District.

The Gering-Ft. Laramie Irrigation District has been working hard since last summer to make repairs before the start of the 2020 irrigation season.