ELLSWORTH, Iowa — USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue approved a Secretarial Disaster Designation request from Governor Kim Reynolds on Thursday. It will make loans, emergency loans, and other assistance available through the Farm Service Agency. Governor Reynolds requested the designation for 57 Iowa counties. Perdue’s approval will make affect 42 of those counties.
Perdue spoke about the designation while on a tour of Eagle’s Catch, an indoor fish farm located in Ellworth, Iowa.
“Flying over in the national guard helicopter look down at all the flat corn that’s not what I’m used to see in Iowa,” said Perdue. “Very disappointing for those people to put their blood sweat and tears a few weeks from harvest here it’s devastating that’s why the President came quickly issued the Presidential Declaration we just signed for the Governor and Senator Ernst today.”
Perdue added the USDA designation that qualifies counties for the safety net of disaster programs of the USDA.
“Certain provisions the Equip Program help to rebuild some things qualifies them for emergency disaster loan,” said Perdue. “It means that if they’ve had structural damage they don’t have to go through another environmental impact study, it gives farm storage facility loans and low interest rate for those farmers to rebuild, and it he qualifies them for emergency loans in other places as well.”
“Once again I wanna express my great appreciation to this administration between Covid and that the derecho and then the drought, their response has been incredible,” said Governor Kim Reynolds. “I appreciate the teamwork and the collaboration, the Disaster Declaration were signed up on within 24 hours, I talked to secretary Purdue a couple days after it hit and he indicated he would be traveling to the state of Iowa he asked us to work with Secretary Naig, to bring ideas to him what we maybe could do to address the issues.”
“Today was a great day to have our USDA Secretary Sonny Purdue, so thankful Secretary for your assistance,” said Senator Joni Ernst, Republican from Red Oak.
The derecho tour just as the Secretary said was absolutely devastating.”
The tour went through Eagle’s Catch and learned how this company is raising Talapia fish which will go to dinner tables of consumers in the United States.
“The big reason why we got started in aquaculture is because 91% of all the seafood in the United States is imported,” said Eagle’s Catch CEO Joe Sweeney. Seventy-seven percent of all the seafood consumed in United States comes from China.”
Sweeney said after the company expands, he believes Eagle’s Catch may be the largest indoor fish farm in the United States.