Farm subsidies meant to offset the impacts of the Trump administration’s trade war have been swept up by the nation’s largest farms, according to a new analysis by the Environmental Working Group.
Don Carr, a senior adviser with the group, says the bottom 80% of farmers with smaller operations received less than $5,000, while the top 1% received $183,000 on average.
The nation’s biggest 82 farms received more than $500,000 each.
The data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Trade war-related payments made to farmers in 2018 and 2019 totaled $8.4 billion. More than half of that money went to just one-tenth of the program’s participants.
The USDA defends the program, noting that it’s designed to provide support proportionate to a farm’s size and success.
The next round of payments will not be based on the number of crops produced, but the number of acres planted, which Carr says will continue to favor the biggest farms.
Carr says one reason the field is so lopsided is that the Trump administration decided not to impose rules for recipients to get bailouts. He notes that people who apply for food stamps under the Farm Bill have to follow very strict rules in order to qualify for help.