DES MOINES, Iowa – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, during a press call on Tuesday, pushed back on what she called the left’s “war on meat,” pointing out that meat production is key to Iowa’s economy.
“I was born and raised on a rural family farm. And on that farm, we made our living raising livestock and crops. And for us in particular, it was hogs, and the work was tough, and it wasn’t always pretty. But my family took extraordinary pride in the work we did and the hogs and crops we raised, as do so many Iowa families, farmers and ranchers,” she said.
“Our farms helped raise an estimated 23 million hogs, 4 million cattle, and nearly one million beef cows. In total, our pork, beef, lamb, poultry, and fish production generate almost $29 billion in crop and livestock sales, with 30 percent of Iowans employed by ag or in ag-related industries. So folks farming and ranching is not only critical to our jobs, our economy, our culture, and our way of life here in Iowa,” Ernst added.
Ernst said calls from the left who encourage people to ban meat and other agricultural products in Iowa make her “sizzle.”
In 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), under the Obama-Biden Administration, launched a “Meatless Monday” initiative. An action she said made Iowans feel “grilled.”
Ernst also pointed out that U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., has pushed less meat consumption via the Green New Deal.
She doesn’t want to see “Meatless Mondays” make a comeback.
“Mondays are tough enough. We don’t need AOC and Joe Biden making them meatless, too,” Ernst said.
To prevent that from happening, she introduced the TASTEE (Telling Agencies to Stop Tweaking What Employees Eat) Act of 2021, along with U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, who is also a licensed physician.
“This bill is simple, it’s straightforward. It would prohibit federal agencies from establishing policies that ban serving meat for employees,” she said.
“Liberal activists have a First Amendment right to say or preach what they’d like, but our federal agencies shouldn’t be encouraging people to ban agricultural products at the expense of Americans hardworking farmers and producers,” Ernst added.
Gov. Kim Reynolds declared April to be “Meat on the Table” Month in response to the “MeatOut” proclamation signed by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis. Ernst encouraged Iowans to participate by grabbing “a burger, a pork chop, or some good old bacon and support Iowa’s hard working farmers and ranchers.”
She said that while the USDA has not reintroduced Meatless Mondays, there are initiatives to limit meat consumption.
“What we’re now seeing across the board and the federal government (are) moves to eliminate animal agriculture or severely cut it back. And it comes in the form of the Green New Deal and what is being implemented in different policies and plans, even through legislation promoted by some of my colleagues,” Ernst explained.
She said that Biden continues to promote this, and she said legislation such as bills filed by U.S. Senator Cory Booker, D-N.J., who is a vegan, attempts to cut back animal agriculture.
Ernst also said she doesn’t want to see these policies creep into U.S. K-12 schools, similar to the reduction of milk consumption in schools during the Obama Administration.
“It’s something I’m willing to go to the bat for; our producers are behind me on this. And we’re going to continue pushing,” she said.
Listen to the full press call below: