Who Got the $33 Billion in Farm Subsidies for the US-China Trade-War and Coronavirus Payments? by Wolf Richter

As is often the case, government subsidies have ended up in the pockets of those who don’t need them. From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

Individual recipients don’t even have to work on a farm; people getting these payments can be “city slickers.”

Unlike food stamps and other welfare programs that are strictly controlled and limited by income, farm subsidies place few such obstacles on the folks that receive them. “Many recipients never have to set foot on the farm or ride in a tractor to get paid,” according to an analysis by EWG of Department of Agriculture records that it had obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

The analysis covers the $33 billion spread across two farm subsidy programs: The Market Facilitation Program (MFP) created to offset the effects of the trade war against China, and the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).

EWG’s analysis found that the “largest and wealthiest U.S. farm businesses received the biggest share of that $33 billion in payments.” And in earlier analyses of the data, it revealed that “thousands of people who live in cities, and some who live on golf courses” have received MFP payments.

The Market Facilitation Program (MFP).

The purpose of the MFP is to compensate farmers for the effects of the US-China trade war during which China reduced its purchases of US agricultural commodities. Under this program, the US government paid farmers $23 billion from 2018 through June 30, 2020, not including crop insurance premium subsidies.

The administration set the maximum a person could receive under the MFP for 2018 at $125,000. But for 2019, this per-person limit was doubled to $250,000, which, according to EWG, “sent an extra $519 million to the largest farms.”

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