Trade

The Richest Farms Get Richer Off Trump’s Bailout

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Last time we checked in on Trump's bailout for America farmers harmed by his trade war, the majority of the benefits were being handed to the biggest and wealthiest farms and that's still the case according to new data obtained by the Environmental Working Group.

The Department of Agriculture altered the criteria for qualifying for Trump's bailout between the first round in 2018 and the second round in 2019 and the changes they made appear to have exacerbated the unequal distribution of bailout checks.

Data obtained by the Environmental Working Group through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) shows that the top 10 percent of farms received half of all the benefits in the past four months.

Of the payments since August, the top 10 percent of recipients – the largest, most profitable industrial-scale farms in the country – got half.

Three of these farming fat cats got more than $1 million each. Forty-five got more than $500,000 each, and 514 got more than $250,000, which under the program’s rules is supposed to be the limit any single recipient can get.

The richest of the rich, the top 1 percent of recipients, received 13 percent of payments. That’s an average payment of more than $177,000. But the bottom 80 percent of recipients, including small farmers, got an average payment of $5,136.

It feels important to recall these numbers when we discuss the welfare queens of the agricultural industry because while a large swath of farmers are receiving bailout checks, the vast majority are receiving so little it may not even make much of a difference for them.

I suppose this makes the agricultural industry not unlike most other industries in which subsidies and the like are usually claimed by people who don't need them. The same could be said for tax breaks that go to corporations instead of lower and middle class citizens.

Family farmers are the middle class of farming and the Trump regime gave their bailout to industrial-scale farm and corporations.

But they will still vote for him. Probably.

  • muselet

    Feature, not bug. Agribusiness corporations give large campaign donations; small farmers don’t. Why on Earth would one reward people who don’t fill the campaign coffers?

    As I’ve said before, when small farmers find out about this, they’ll still vote for Trump next year, but with slightly less enthusiasm.

    –alopecia

  • gescove

    Not at all surprising that the wealthiest corporate farms get the loot shoveled up to them. No different than the tax code shoveling wealth to the top 1%.