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 million from the Treasury, the bailout has circumvented Congressional oversight.
In the first round of Trump’s bailout, $8.5 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 the end of October, almost $6 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.
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.
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