Jul 30, 2019

More than half of Trump's trade relief allocated to biggest, richest farms

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

More than 50% of federal aid meant to help American farmers cope with the negative impacts of the U.S.-China trade war went to the largest and wealthiest farms, according to a new study of Department of Agriculture data.

Why it matters: The Trump administration prioritized aid to farms that produced high volumes of specific crops, leaving smaller farms behind, per the study. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) says the findings illustrate a need for "payment caps" on the aid, reports Bloomberg.

By the numbers: The analysis covered $8.4 billion in USDA's Market Facilitation Program payments to more than 563,000 participants between 2018 and this April.

  • The top 10% of farmers collected 54% of the bailout payments.
  • 82 farmers got $500,000 or more.
  • In Missouri, the DeLine Farm Partnership received $2.8 million.
  • The bottom 80% of farmers accepted payments averaging less than $5,000.

What's next: President Trump recently approved another $16 billion in new aid for farmers this year to offset the impact of tariffs. However, the aid will "be tied to the acreage planted, making more explicit 'the bigger the farm, the bigger the government check,'" writes Bloomberg.

Go deeper: China trade war: Trump suggests farmers will benefit from tariffs

Go deeper

Farmers offset tough times with side gigs

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

China’s vow to stop buying U.S. agricultural goods comes at a dire time for farmers, who have been cutting costs and picking up side-hustles — like hosting pizza nights for agri-tourists — to make ends meet.

Why it matters: Adverse weather conditions, slumping commodity prices and trade wars are threatening farmers' already-dwindling incomes, in the midst of the worst economic downturn for the sector since the 1980s.

Go deeperArrowAug 9, 2019

Food bought from American farmers to offset trade war pain will go to school cafeterias

Photo: Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images

School cafeterias are set to receive free food purchased by the Department of Agriculture to relieve farmers hurt by the U.S-China trade war, the AP reports.

The big picture: The USDA has spent $1.2 billion to buy up food to redistribute to nutrition programs through "trade mitigation" — long part of its practices to help farmers, though usually on a far smaller scale — as part of the $16 billion aid package for farmers hit hard by retaliatory tariffs.

Go deeperArrowAug 12, 2019

Local leaders look to forge ties with China amid trade war

Oregon Governor Kate Brown. Photo: Anthony Pidgeon/Redferns

Feeling the effects of the Trump administration's trade war with China, some states and cities are stepping in to build their own relationships.

Why it matters: Mayors and governors are hearing directly from farmers and business owners concerned that the trade war will permanently cut off access to the Chinese market.

  • "People are scared about their livelihoods and job opportunities going somewhere else," said Bob Holden, CEO of the U.S. Heartland China Association and former governor of Missouri. "I see now a paranoia in our culture that we've lost control."
Go deeperArrowJul 31, 2019