Tuesday, July 30, 2019

“The bigger the farm, the bigger the government check”

More than half of the Trump administration’s $8.4 billion in trade aid payments to U.S. farmers through April was received by the top 10% of recipients, the country’s biggest farmers.

The top 1% of aid recipients received an average of more than $180,000 while the bottom 80% were paid less than $5,000 in aid. 

U.S. farmers have been among the hardest hit in the year-long trade war between the world’s two largest economies. Shipments of soybeans, the most valuable U.S. farm export, to top buyer China sank to a 16-year low in 2018. 

“Farm bailout payments designed to offset the impacts of President Trump’s trade war have overwhelmingly flowed to the largest and most successful farmers,” the Environmental Working Group said said in a statement. “The bigger the farm, the bigger the government check,” it said. 

A USDA spokeswoman said aid payments were made based on a producer’s individual production. “The more acres they farm and bushels per acre they produce - the more assistance they receive,” she said in emailed comments. The department has made changes to its new farm aid and said it would pay farmers according to geographic location rather than by crop. A Reuters analysis of the payment rates posted online showed farmers in the cotton-growing Mississippi Delta states stand to be the greatest beneficiaries of the program.


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