I touched on this report in a post yesterday, Another round of Trump’s farmer bribes set to roll out, but it turns out that this GOP socialist scheme to redistribute wealth does what one would expect: redistribute wealth upwards to the largest and wealthiest farmers.
The Hill reports, Study: More than half of Trump farm aid went to biggest farms:
More than half of farm bailout payments meant to alleviate the effects of the U.S.’s ongoing trade war with China went to bigger, wealthier farms, according to a study from the Environmental Working Group.
The analysis of the first two rounds of the Market Facilitation Program found that through April, payments for 2018-2019 totaled $8.4 billion.
The top 10 percent of recipients received 54 percent of all payments, with 82 farmers thus far receiving over $500,000 in MFP payments, according to the study.
The analysis also found that the top 1 percent of recipients were rewarded an average of $183,331, with the bottom 80 percent receiving less than $5,000 on average, with minority farmers continuing to see little benefit from the program.
MFP payments were previously linked to crop production, with the Department of Agriculture initially announcing a $125,00 cap on payments, but the limit has seldom been practically applied due to rules that allow relatives who do not contribute meaningful work to the farm to receive payments, according to EWG.
“Changes to the second round of MFP payments, announced last week by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue, will further favor the largest farmers by linking payments to the number of acres, not the number of bushels or bales produced,” the report states. “The bigger the farm, the bigger the government check.”
This follows reports earlier this year that a Brazilian Subsidiary Hoovers Up $62 Million In Trump Trade War Aid Intended For Farmers:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is paying $40.1 million to buy pork from JBS USA — a subsidiary of Brazil-based JBS SA — using American taxpayer bailout funds intended to help U.S. farmers. That’s in addition to previously awarded pork contracts for $22.3 million, The Greeley Tribune reported Thursday.
“Why is the USDA bailing out plants operated by JBS, the largest meatpacker in the world, with a program designed to help domestic companies and producers under economic duress?” Food & Water Watch lobbyist Tony Corbo asked The New York Daily News, which first reported the payments.
The money led Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) to introduce a House bill last week “to require that purchases of agricultural commodities made by the Secretary of Agriculture … be from domestically owned enterprises.”
“It is clear the president is not the least bit knowledgeable about trade policy, nor aware of the chaos his failed approach has caused‚” DeLauro told the News.
“We now know that tens of millions of these dollars went to large, multinational corporations — including Brazilian-owned JBS — who are racking up profits while family farmers face collapse. That is outrageous.”
The Brazilian company has been involved in corruption scandals in its home country. The U.S. Justice Department has also launched an investigation into owner brothers Joesley and Wesley Batista, who have confessed to bribing top Brazilian officials, and served time in jail there.
The Justice Department is probing JBS for possible violations in the U.S. of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, according to filings in an unrelated court case reviewed by The News. U.S. investigators interviewed JBS shareholders late last year as part of that investigation, Reuters reported.
JBS told the Tribune in a statement that “all eligible JBS USA pork products” it purchases (to in turn sell to the USDA) “come from American livestock raised on American farms by U.S. family farmers, and are processed in American facilities in rural American towns.”
Last November, Smithfield Foods, a Virginia company owned by a Chinese firm, pulled its bid for $240,000 in pork payments from the USDA after Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) complained that money intended for local farmers was going to an international firm.
Huffpost could not immediately reach the USDA for comment about JBS. But a USDA statement to the News on Thursday said that “regardless of who the vendor is, the products purchased are grown in the U.S. and benefit U.S. farmers.” JBS, therefore, “qualifies as a bidder under this criteria,” and is apparently then eligible for American subsidies.
Corruption runs deep and wide in the Trump administration. Drain the swamp!