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Trump Bribed Corn Farmers with $3B More than Actual Tariff Harms

Ah, so Trump was just buying farmers’ votes….

Economists recognized early on that the Trump Administration’s extra handouts to farmers far exceeded the actual damages they incurred from Trump’s counterproductive tariffs against China. A new report from the Government Accountability Office finds that the Trump USDA’s Market Facilitation Program overpaid corn farmers by about $3 billion while undercompensating other farmers:

The Government Accountability Office said in a report released Monday that international disputes resulting from tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump hurt farmers but that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s county-by-county methodology for computing the extent of damage was flawed, leading to overpayment and inconsistent compensation.

“Though corn yields are higher in the Midwest and West, corn producers received an estimated average of $69 per acre in the South, $61 in the Midwest, $34 in the Northeast, and $29 in the West,” the report said.

GAO also estimated that payments to corn producers were approximately $3 billion more than USDA’s estimate of trade damage to corn, while payments to soybeans, sorghum, and cotton producers were lower than their estimated trade damages [David Pitt, “Federal Watchdog: Trump’s USDA Overpaid Corn Farmers by $3B,” AP via U.s. News and World Report, 2021.12.21].

So how much of their $346K in MFP farm welfare checks will Kristi Noem’s brothers give back to Uncle Sam?


  1. larry kurtz 2021-12-29 10:16

    In 2015 under President Obama the US Environmental Protection Agency moved to more closely identify the sources of non-point pollution. Despite a judge’s ruling EPA went forward with a new federal rule protecting small streams, tributaries and wetlands. The Waters of the United States (WOTUS) legislation sought to give authority to the EPA to use some teeth to enforce the rights of people downstream to have clean water even from some sources that the US Geological Survey has already identified as impaired.

    Today, President Joe Biden has established a task force to determine the social costs of carbon and has required federal agencies to immediately begin applying their findings in their regulatory actions and other decision-making. The re-registration of some agricultural herbicides is on the EPA’s agenda so are biofuels and the Renewable Fuels Standard.

    Ethanol profit margins are at near record levels but raising subsidized corn for ethanol is a major contributor to the dead zone in the Gulf.

  2. jerry 2021-12-29 12:30

    Transfer that wealth to the producers who actually suffered damages. The IRS needs to claw this back.

  3. jerry 2021-12-29 12:30

    Transfer that wealth to the producers who actually suffered damages. The IRS needs to claw this back.

  4. Francis Schaffer 2021-12-29 13:02

    I wonder how this is affecting the land price at auctions? I have heard some sales over $10,000/acre.

  5. jerry 2021-12-29 14:04

    Mr. Schaffer, why do you think Alan Hanks and NOem want to relax real estate appraising? Of course this windfall of money has to be spent somewhere or something. There are only a certain amount of “winter chalets” down in the south you can write off. Better to pay upwards of 10 grand (cheap marginal land) so you can get more subsidy. Best scam that I know of was to buy pasture land and put the plow to it. You immediately got a profit making machine, courtesy of the US taxpayer.

  6. Mark Anderson 2021-12-29 15:11

    So Farmers on the dole. He had to buy them anyway. My wife has a few hundred acres in So. Dak., should have corned it out I guess. Doesn’t grow on that land but since it wasn’t even a gamble… Farmers are always the biggest gamblers in America, however this gamble paid off, its a win, win. Trump does think that way you know. Now Joe should return the favor with student loan debt.

  7. Loren 2021-12-29 20:37

    I’m not quite clear. Was China going to pay for that or Mexico? (Repuglican politics can be so confusing!)

  8. jerry 2021-12-29 22:23

    I am kind of amazed that the “freedom to farm” was abused. How did I not see this giveaway coming? Next thing will be something against dust that would mean more grift… naw, that one will never fly. I mean, who would be dumb enough to think that?

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