According to a review by American Ledger, Republican Iowa Senator Joni Ernst stood on the sidelines and even praised Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue as he continues to gut Iowa’s suffering ethanol industry by diverting resources to other states.

After launching a trade war that hit American farmers and exporters hard, the Trump Administration directed its Department of Agriculture to extend a $30 billion taxpayer-funded assistance program reserved for corn and other Midwestern crops to the fishing industry in Maine. The fund now being used to prop up lobstermen in Maine was designed to help farmers in the Midwest who were caught in the crossfire of Trump’s trade war with China.

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, who oversees the assistance program, ignored requests from the National Corn Growers Association to include ethanol, a key Iowa product, for reimbursements. But he did bend the regulatory rules to include the lobster industry, which had been historically excluded from this kind of support as recently as 2018 before receiving billions just two years later.

Senator Ernst, however, has been excessively congratulatory of Secretary Perdue despite the fact that his inaction and ignorance of ethanol has led to billions of dollars of losses and devastated farmers in Iowa. She voted to confirm Perdue, praised him as an “ally” to farmers, and has thanked him for his advocacy for farmers and ranchers.

Alarmingly, while Ernst does nothing as Perdue diverts funding from her state to help the Maine lobster industry, ethanol producers in Iowa are expected to lose $2.5 billion as a result of ongoing conditions. But Perdue stated that ethanol, one of the key pillars of Iowa’s agricultural economy, was left out because, “There’s just not enough money to go around.” He even blamed farmers for raising concerns, alleging that, “If you’re a farmer, you’ve got to have something to blame.

Now, as Secretary Perdue has effectively shut the door on Iowa’s ethanol industry, Iowa’s Senator is silent, clinging as tightly as possible to President Trump and his administration as she faces a tough reelection bid.


Contact Chai Karve at ckarve@americanbridge.org