Economy

Farmers Discover Not All Bailout Checks Are Created Equal

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Although China was purchasing up to 60 percent of all soybeans grown by American farmers, Agricultural Secretary Sonny Purdue announced that Trump's bailout would only cover 50 percent of their crops.

That seems like a relatively good deal for farmers all things considered, but it appears that not all farmers are created equal in the eyes of the Trump regime.

The Trump regime will reimburse farmers for a significant portion of their lost business, but not all farmers will be reimbursed the same amount for each crop. Corn and wheat farmers, for example, have discovered that they will receive a pitiful if not insulting amount of aid.

Corn farmers get the smallest slice of the aid pie. Corn groups estimate a loss of 44 cents per bushel, but they're poised to receive just a single penny per bushel. [...]

Asked about the confusion, Rob Johansson, the Agriculture Department's chief economist, responded that the USDA took into account a number of factors "including the share of production that is exported and the value of trade directly affected by the retaliatory tariffs."

"The level of damage is not the same for each commodity," he said in a written response to questions submitted by The Associated Press.

The breakdown has stunned corn and wheat farmers who say the payments are uneven and won't do much of anything to help keep struggling farms afloat.

A lobbying group that represents wheat growers is challenging the way the administration determined payments for wheat farmers, who are set to receive 14 cents a bushel.

While corn and wheat farmers will receive just 1 cent and 14 cents respectively, soybean farmers will receive $1.65 per bushel.

If I'm a corn or wheat farmer who has also lost a significant amount of business because of Trump's trade war, I'm certainly asking why not all crops are being treated equally.

Personally, I don't think this is much of a mystery. I necessarily assume political calculations are being made when determining who gets what.

A more benign but not necessarily substantially different guess is that the Department of Agriculture has a limited amount of money at its disposal and they've made careless decisions about who gets what.

In any case, there's no way this was ever not going to be a shitshow. Everything Trump touches turns to shit.

  • swift_4

    We’re going to find out soon that the Republicans in Congress have all got soybean farms.

  • Aynwrong

    I wonder if the 2016 MAGA voter has any sense of economic anxiety self preservation.

    • Draxiar

      Not bloody likely.

  • muselet

    Asked about the confusion, Rob Johansson, the Agriculture Department’s chief economist, responded that the USDA took into account a number of factors “including the share of production that is exported and the value of trade directly affected by the retaliatory tariffs.”

    Translated—as Charlie Pierce puts it—from the original weaselspeak: “We’re screwing corn and wheat farmers because reasons. Good reasons. You wouldn’t possibly understand. Stop asking me questions!”

    I hope corn and wheat farmers remember this episode in November (and again in 2020), but I fear they won’t.

    –alopecia

  • Whatever the Dept. of Agriculture’s calculus is, this was all completely avoidable. The farmers wouldn’t have been rolling in it if foreign sales went un-disrupted, sure. But they’d still have that business.

  • katanahamon

    Gosh..that sounds like..socialism!