Aug 5, 2019
Trump says that he is planning to bail out the farms that won’t be able to sell their farm products to China because of the trade war Trump is waging against China. Soybean farmers in the U.S. cannot sell their crop because of the tariffs imposed on soybeans by China, in retaliation for the tariffs Trump placed on Chinese products. Trump’s farm bailout could reach 28 billion dollars in total. But the farms with annual revenues of several million dollars and above will likely be the main recipients of this handout.
Current federal crop support programs already include low cost crop insurance that covers farm losses in the trade war and steers billions in subsidies to agribusiness. The bailout payments are based on acreage in production, and therefore the largest share goes to the biggest farms.
Most U.S. farms are small, accounting for 89 percent of all farms, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. The value of agricultural output from these small farms is less than 26 percent of total production. That is, the contribution of the big majority of farms to the overall agricultural economy is small, because most farms are small in acreage.
The large farms, those with annual cash income of one million dollars or more, account for only 2.8 percent of all farms. These large farms put out 40 percent of total agricultural production. These large farms are also highly industrialized, therefore capable of producing more farm products per acre than the small farms. So, the owners of large farms will take the lion’s share.
One such owner is Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, who received 1.6 million dollars through government handouts from 1995 to 2017. Grassley applied for a share of the first 12-billion-dollar government bailout announced last year. He will be applying for a piece of the additional 16-billion-dollar bailout Trump announced later.
So, these hand-outs will enrich these already rich “farmers” through our tax money. Thus, whatever happens, trade war or not, the real winners are the rich, the true beneficiaries of Trump’s policies and of this capitalist system.