MFU President’s Blog by Walter Schweitzer; December 2019
To offset losses caused by trade wars the USDA created a taxpayer funded program called the Market Facilitation Program(MFP). Much of the $14.5 billion dollars of taxpayer funds targeted to help producers affected by the trade war ended up in corporate bank accounts.
One outrageous example is the $90 million dollars of corporate subsidies given to JBS a multinational meat packer. JBS headquartered in Brazil has packing plants in the USA, Canada, Australia, Mexico and numerous other locations around the globe. JBS is currently one of the largest exporters of beef to China from its plants in Brazil, Canada, Australia, etc. The facts are so outrageous they deserve repeating. While family farm income is down because of trade wars, the U.S. government is sending $90 million taxpayer dollars to JBS, a multinational corporation that is filling the void with foreign beef.
Doesn’t make sense, but very little of the MFP instead of trade makes sense. Although farmers in the North, Midwest, and West have experienced the greatest harm from trade disputes, 95 percent of counties receiving the highest payment rates are based in the Southeast (Sonny Perdue country). The disparity in payments also makes no sense. Farms in counties side by side get $150/ acre vs $15/acre. Most Montana counties got $15/acre or less and are scheduled to get no more payments while counties in the south that got the highest rate are going to get two additional payments. Like the trade war itself none of this makes sense.