Climate Change Trade

USDA To Expand Trump’s Farm Bailout Beyond His Trade War

Written by SK Ashby

The Trump regime offered one bailout to the greater agricultural industry and farmers who've been harmed by Trump's trade war, but the next bailout may be split between farmers harmed by his trade war and farmers harmed by climate change.

The Trump regime won't acknowledge or call it that, of course, but that's what we're talking about here.

Reuters reports that the Department of Agriculture is planning to extend Trump's second bailout to farmers who haven't planted anything because their fields were flooded.

The government agency is exploring options that would allow farmers that file insurance claims on “prevented planting” policies to remain eligible for a partial payment under its $16 billion aid package, Perdue said in a statement.

But the farmers will need to plant an eligible cover crop, a practice typically intended to prevent soil erosion, Perdue added.

“USDA is not legally authorized to make Market Facilitation Program payments to producers for acreage that is not planted. However, we are exploring legal flexibilities to provide a minimal per acre market facilitation payment,” [Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue] said.

Trump's bailouts were suppose to help struggling farmers who grew crops and then found they no longer had a market to sell the crops to.

If the USDA moves forward with this plan, we'll also bail out farmers who haven't grown anything.

I'm not going to say we shouldn't support farms that were destroyed by historic flooding, but I would say this should be debated in Congress, not in a back room at the USDA. And, furthermore, I think we can infer that bailing out farmers who haven't planted anything will dilute aid intended for farmers harmed by Trump's trade war.

There is some amount of overlap between the two constituencies and that provides all the more reason why this should be debated in Congress. A wholesale approach to ending Trump's trade war and preparing the agricultural industry for climate change is needed.

The bills for all of this -- from Trump's trade wars to historic losses in farm country and climate change in general -- are going to come due at some point and everyone reading this is going to pay for it in one way or another. A temporary bailout is a wrong and costly approach.