Analysis: Government Support Will Account For 40% Total Farm Income This Year
According to The New York Times, President Donald Trump has accelerated assistance to American farmers hit hard by both his volatile approach to trade and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, flooding the farming industry with taxpayer funds.
- “Federal payments to farmers are projected to hit a record $46 billion this year as the White House funnels money to Mr. Trump’s rural base in the South and Midwest ahead of Election Day,” The Times reported.
- Farm debt is expected to increase by 4 percent this year to a record $434 billion, according to the American Farm Bureau, and “farm bankruptcies have continued to rise across the country,” per The Times’ report.
- Federal assistance to the farm sector this year is expected to be the largest handout since its previous record in 2005, the newspaper reported, meaning “that government support will account for about 40 percent of total farm income this year.”
More money for farmers will soon be on the way. Congress recently agreed to replenish an Agriculture Department fund that Mr. Trump has used to disburse nearly $30 billion to farmers at his discretion with tens of billions of additional dollars. The Trump administration negotiated with Democrats to ensure the money was included in a short-term bill to fund the federal government, with the White House agreeing to more funds for child nutritional assistance in exchange.
“For the first time in history, a president has repeatedly usurped congressional authority in order to personally dispense tens of billions of dollars in federal farm subsidy payments that would not otherwise have been paid,” said Ken Cook, president of Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization that has been tracking the agriculture payments. “This is an authoritarian power grab used to buy political support from voters who are essential to his re-election.”