President Trump is forcing the nation’s taxpayers to subsidize his reckless tariffs with a $12 billion giveaway to farmers. Even though Trump’s punishing tariffs are a huge mistake, one could argue that farmers alone shouldn’t bare the resulting economic pain Trump inflicted upon them.
Protecting and preserving small family farms has always been an important goal of Democrats. That’s why revelations that the bulk of the Trump bailout is benefiting rich individuals, wealthy investors, large corporations, and farm-estate heirs rather than small farmers is simply unacceptable.
According to the Environmental Working Group, in the first round of bailout payments made at the end of October, 68% of the checks went to the top 10% of farm households. Perhaps more concerning, 1,000 of the current recipients didn’t even live on a farm. They are distant big city residents who never drive a tractor and are often absentee farm owners.
Forcing American taxpayers to subsidize billionaires is nothing new. Small farms make up 90 percent of all farms, yet in 2016 they only received 27 percent of the commodity payments. They only received 17 percent of crop-insurance protection payments. Since 1995, nearly 75 percent of all farm payments have gone to the richest and largest 10 percent. Farm programs shouldn’t be manipulated to transfer taxpayer money to make millionaires and billionaires richer. Trump’s current farm bailout is a continuation of this travesty.
In 2017, over 20,000 (faux farmers) residents living in some of America’s largest cities received farm payments. They are individuals such as billionaire Glen Taylor, who owns farmland in Northwest Iowa. Glen Taylor is the owner of the NBA Minnesota Timberwolves, WNBA Lynx, the Star Tribune newspaper in Minneapolis and numerous other businesses. Taylor received $116,500 in farm subsidies in 2017. Does anyone really think Taylor should qualify as a working farmer?
Trump has the discretion to limit maximum payments to $125,000 as the USDA originally set out in the bailout announcement. However, neither a maximum limit or a means test has been enforced.
In this first round of bailout payments made in October, 85 recipients (3 in Iowa) exceeded the $125,000 maximum. The largest single farm conglomerate in Louisiana received $439,000. How can anyone justify a single farm owner receiving nearly half a million dollars in taxpayer money? The top 10 recipients (farmers) received nearly $3.5 million in bailout money.
The current means test is supposed to prohibit payments to any one farm household with adjusted gross income above $900,000 per year ($1.5 million for a married couple). It certainly appears this is being ignored.
The second round of payments will be made in December and will total $4.7 billion. Many of these same wealthy non-farmer recipients may receive additional funds in the next payout.
While these corporate giants are siphoning off the bulk of taxpayer funds, small farmers are suffering. The Register reported on payments to Iowa farmers after the October payments:
“Some checks will barely cover the cost of a Starbucks coffee for a few growers. About 100 of the nearly 4,300 payments to Iowa farmers through October are less than $25, according to data from the Environmental Working Group. Twenty-four Iowa farmers snagged less than $10, with 11 getting $5 or less. Overall, the average payment to farmers is $7,236, based on the Washington, D.C., group’s data. Iowa growers will receive $550 million in the bailout, an ISU study shows, with the overall hit from tariffs to the state’s economy reaching $2 billion.”
Trump’s tariffs have severely damaged the nation’s agricultural sector by punishing our best customers and destroying free market trade. The prices farmers receive for their corn, soybean, hogs and other commodities have tanked as Trump’s tariffs have punished our worldwide customers. Add the inequality in the bailout payments and Trump has damaged Iowa and the nation’s agricultural sector for years to come.
Why are Senator Ernst and Grassley MIA and silent as Trump raids the U.S. treasury to reward the richest farmers-in-name-only? Why are they allowing money designated to help struggling small and medium farmers to go to the richest farm entities?
Senator Grassley is a farm owner and has said he plans to accept his bailout payment. “This is something you get because you are a farmer — equal treatment for everybody,” Grassley said.
by Rick Smith
9 Comments on "68% Of Trump’s Farm Bailout Goes To Richest 10%"
Golly gee ! Surprise, surprise . This is one of those things democrats in rural Iowa when running in the November election should have been loudly and repetitively screaming about, and still screaming about . But now with the elections passed not a word except in this article . They should be following Trumps lead and never let it die, just keep the mantra alive and it will convince !!!!!!
Grassley (and you) has it wrong. It was not intended to treat everybody equally. It is intended to treat every bushel of beans equally. Since some farms grow hundreds of thousands of bushels of beans while other farms grow far fewer beans, of course, the subsidies go where the beans are. After all, who suffered the most from the tariffs? The farms with the most beans to sell.
If the goal is to support every small farm, we need an entirely different farm bill. If the goal is to ameliorate the tariff damage, supporting farmers who raise sheep or plant carrots would not be very effective.
Very good. A new bill is needed.
You are trying to compare “Soybeans” and “Farmers”?? This is not the place to talk about “Large Farmers” and “Small Farmers”. You are about 50 years to to late to address that problem!!!!!! You might be able to talk about “Rural Communities” and “Urban Communities” but this type of “Trump Bailout” program is not intended to distribute wealth, but to “Buy Votes”!!!!
“Trump has the discretion to limit maximum payments to $125,000 as the USDA originally set out in the bailout announcement. However, neither a maximum limit or a means test has been enforced. In this first round of bailout payments made in October, 85 recipients (3 in Iowa) exceeded the $125,000 maximum.”
“The current means test is supposed to prohibit payments to any one farm household with adjusted gross income above $900,000 per year ($1.5 million for a married couple). It certainly appears this is being ignored.”
“Iowa growers will receive $550 million in the bailout, an ISU study shows, with the overall hit from tariffs to the state’s economy reaching $2 billion.”
“Trump’s tariffs have severely damaged the nation’s agricultural sector by punishing our best customers and destroying free market trade. “
Jerry’s comment is absolutely correct. The payment is tied to soybean production, so of course a larger farmer will receive more than a smaller farmer. That’s how the farm program has always worked. Same concept applies to tax cuts, as higher earners will always receive greater benefit than lower income individuals. It’s simple math.
I wish the bailout money would at least be withheld from the idiots who still fall-till their soybean fields even though the USDA has pointed out for more than thirty years that fall tillage after soybeans makes no economic sense. And it is certainly bad for soil and water.
Lyle makes a good point. And it’s also time to retire that now-meaningless term, “family farm.” When the “family farm” consists of five adult siblings, and two of them are building and operating hoglots that are carefully sized to avoid regulation, while the other three are farming several thousand acres of rowcrops and doing no conservation except the bare minimum required to get those generous crop-insurance subsidies, the term “family farm” is essentially dead.
originally farmers were set to get $1.60 per bushel on soybeans .. and 1 penny per bushel on corn .. now they are only going to pay half that .. anyone who owns ground but rents it to farmers – the farmer gets the subsidy payment – NOT the land owner .. Pre tarriff beans were 9.50 to 10$ a bushel – now $8 to $8.50 bushel … .80 cents a bushel does not make up a 2 dollar loss in price …. stop picking on farmers – they work for low wages -and they can not regulate commodity prices themselves ..