Largest Farms Grab Lion's Share Of Trump Trade War Aid, Report Finds

Mary Papenfuss

Billions of taxpayer dollars in farm subsidies aimed at mitigating the damage of President Donald Trump’s trade war with China have “overwhelmingly flowed to the largest and most successful farmers” rather than aiding struggling operations, according to a new report.

More than half of the farm bailouts went to just one-tenth of the recipients in the program, according to a study by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group. The top 1% of farmers were paid an average $183,000, while the bottom 80% averaged less than $5,000. The group analyzed records it obtained through the Freedom of Information Act on $8.4 billion in federal payments to 563,000 participants from January 2018 through April 2019.

One farm, DeLine Farm Partnership of Charleston, Missouri, received $2.8 million in trade aid payments, according to the records. Eighty-two operations received more than $500,000 each as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Market Facilitation Program. Payment recipients were almost exclusively white.

More than $60 million in trade aid went to a U.S. subsidiary of a Brazilian meatpacking company, which is the largest in the world.

“When Market Facilitation Program payments continue to overwhelmingly flow to an elite group of the largest farms, wealthy landowners and city residents with no real connection to the day-to-day operations on the land, it’s clear the program is deeply flawed and not delivering aid to those farmers in desperate need,” Donald Carr, a senior adviser to Environmental Working Group, told Bloomberg.

America’s farmers have been among the biggest losers in Trump’s trade war with China. After the first round of U.S. tariffs, China ― the largest market for many American crops ― retaliated with tariffs aimed at farmers because of their support for Trump. The Trump administration eventually rolled out two rounds of farm bailouts expected to total $28 billion. No other industry hurt by the trade war is receiving...

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