Trump’s Farmer Bailout
In 2018, President Trump created a bailout program to offset farmers’ losses from his trade war with China, which cut off many growers’ access to their biggest market. Funded through the Commodity Credit Corporation, a government entity that can borrow up to $30 billion from the Treasury, the bailout has circumvented Congressional oversight.
In the first round of Trump’s bailout, $8.6 billion in these taxpayer-funded Market Facilitation Program, or MFP, payments went out the door. USDA began distributing a second round of payments in August 2019, and as of February 2020, $14.5 billion had already been paid out.
Through Freedom of Information Act requests to the Agriculture Department, EWG has analyzed these payments. We found that rather than supporting small, struggling farmers, MFP money has overwhelmingly gone to farmers who are already wealthy, as well as to people who live in cities and other places far from the fields. Thousands of recipients have received more than the maximum payment limit USDA first announced.
It’s all perfectly legal, thanks to loopholes in current farm subsidy law:
- Many farms are set up as partnerships, and each partner can apply for the maximum aid available. All partners are supposed to be “actively engaged in farming,” but that requirement can be met through a phone call about what to plant. (See this report from the Government Accountability Office.)
- Family members of farmers or landowners – including spouses, children, cousins, nieces and nephews – can apply for aid on behalf of a business.
- Landowners who lease their land to tenant farmers – about 40 percent of U.S. farmland is rented – are eligible to apply for bailout money and other farm subsidies if they have a crop share lease with the tenant.
EWG will continue to analyze this expensive and inequitable boondoggle.
While visiting Wisconsin last year, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said farmers should “get big or get out.” The Trump administration’s bailout program seems designed to do just that.Read More
The largest and wealthiest U.S. farm businesses received the biggest share of almost $33 billion in payments from two subsidy programs – one created by the Trump administration to respond to the president’s trade war and the other by Congress in response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to updates to EWG’s Farm Subsidy Database.Read More
Since 2018, in response to retaliatory tariffs from President Trump’s long-term trade war with China, the Department of Agriculture has paid many billions of dollars to farmers supposedly suffering financial losses. The payments are made through the Market Facilitation Program, or MFP.Read More
Bailout payments aimed at relief for farmers from the impacts of President Trump’s trade war and the COVID-19 pandemic likely pushed 2019 federal farm spending beyond subsidy caps set by an international trade agreement, potentially inviting retaliation from trading partners.Read More
Congress should direct the Department of Agriculture to use COVID-19 relief funds to ensure that farmworkers –not big farmers – have protections, free testing and paid sick leave.Read More
The Trump administration’s plan to spend billions to address the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on agriculture may help industrial-scale produce farms but does little to assist farmworkers threatened by COVID-19, a new EWG analysis shows.Read More
Just in time for Christmas, the Trump administration has finalized a rule to kick 700,000 hungry Americans off the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, commonly called food stamps – the first phase of a broader plan to deny nutrition support to 3 million low-income people.Read More
Last week, the Department of Agriculture announced a new round of cash payments to farmers to ease their losses from President Trump’s trade war with China, which has cut off many growers from their biggest market. Perhaps feeling the sting of Senate Democrats’ blistering rebuke of gross inequities in the so-called Market Facilitation Program, or MFP, the president tweeted: “The smaller farms and farmers will be big beneficiaries.”Read More
The grass is always greener for “fairway farmers” who, despite living next to golf courses instead of crop land, have raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments from the first round of President Trump’s trade war bailout program.Read More
Fifteen members of an agribusiness council that advised Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign have received $2.2 million from the federal bailout program for farmers hurt by the president’s trade war with China.Read More
Farm bailout payments intended to offset the impacts of President Trump’s trade war have instead flowed to an estimated more than 9,000 “city slickers” who live in the nation’s largest cities, an updated EWG analysis of Department of Agriculture data shows.Read More
Farm bailout payments designed to offset the impacts of President’s Trump’s trade war have overwhelmingly flowed to the largest and most successful farmers, according to EWG’s analysis of the latest Department of Agriculture data.Read More
President Trump’s tariffs are a disaster for American soybean farmers, effectively cutting off access to China, their largest market. The Department of Agriculture’s bailout program has not helped most of them, because the bulk of payments go to the biggest and richest farmers.Read More
Nearly 3,500 farms have received more than $125,000 each in bailout payments intended to offset the impacts of President Trump’s trade war, according to an EWG analysis of Department of Agriculture data.
Farm bailout payments intended to offset the impacts of President Trump’s trade war have instead flowed to more than 1,000 “city slickers” who live in the nation’s largest cities, an EWG analysis of Department of Agriculture data shows.Read More
Our farm safety net is already so filled with loopholes that the top 3 percent of farms – or about 60,000 farms – receive roughly 40 percent of all farm subsidies.Read More