Fifth District U.S. Rep. Denver Riggleman, R- Nelson County, joined more than 15 of his colleagues in the House to send a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Purdue calling for economic relief to American loggers that have been seriously impacted by the pandemic.
Loggers and log haulers are invaluable members of the American economy. These incredible workers harvest and transport more than $283 billion worth of raw materials per year. Additionally, the logging supply chain is a top-10 manufacturing industry in more than 40 U.S. states, employing over one million American workers earning over $54 billion dollars in combined payroll.
However, Riggleman and his fellow cosigners believe that as vital as the logging industry is in America, many of its workers have fallen through the cracks of numerous rounds of coronavirus aid relief.
“Logging is a vital industry in the 5th District. I am proud of the progress that Congress has made to provide immediate relief to millions of Americans during this trying time in our country,” said Riggleman. “The Paycheck Protection Program provided over $525 billion dollars in aid which saved over 51 million jobs, and over 150 million Americans received Economic Impact Payments. Despite all of this aid, my colleagues and I recognize that the hardworking loggers and log haulers of our country have been left out of the majority of aid programs. We call on the USDA to use their funds to uplift these American taxpayers and assist them by putting them on a fast track to economic recovery.”
This formal request is necessary as so many American workers are trying to piece their lives back together in the wake of COVID-19. The USDA is appropriately positioned to respond to this crisis, and repair the livelihoods of so many American workers.
This letter asks the USDA to use its broad authority and financial power to immediately provide aid to loggers and log haulers that were not eligible for relief under the USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). Congress has provided millions of dollars in resources to the USDA in the wake of the pandemic, and it is not the responsibility of the USDA to use their allocation of resources to adequately address the needs of over one million essential American workers.