La Crosse, WI—Today in a letter to Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue, Rep. Ron Kind asked for Secretary Perdue to explain how over $2 million in trade aid went to some of the President’s closest political agricultural advisors from his presidential campaign, while family farmers in Wisconsin got next to nothing.
A recent report found that 15 Trump campaign advisors received significant funds from the Market Facilitation Program—a program created to help farmers being impacted by the reckless, ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China. Several of these advisors received well over six figures, with one cotton grower and former county Republican Party chair receiving nearly $875,000. Additionally, a former Republican governor of North Dakota received over a quarter of a million dollars.
This isn’t the first time USDA Secretary Perdue’s distribution of the Market Facilitation Program has been called into question. Last month, Rep. Kind sent a letter to USDA Secretary Perdue with similar concerns after a report found that the top one percent of large farms received an average of $183,331 in trade aid, while the bottom eighty percent received under $5,000, on average. Additionally, 82 large farms received more than $500,000 and 95% of all payments went to the top 50% of farms. The report also found that over $38 million in payments were sent to those living in large U.S. cities, including Washington, DC, New York City, and San Francisco. Rep. Kind still has not received a response from Secretary Perdue.
“For 18 months now, farmers in Wisconsin have been dealing with the repercussions from the President’s reckless trade war,” said. Rep. Ron Kind. “This trade aid package was supposed to solely provide short term relief to farmers impacted by retaliatory trade actions to the President’s tariffs—instead it’s being used to help those who serve to advance the President’s own political agenda. We should all be concerned that I am concerned that certain insiders are finding themselves on the fast track to receiving bailout money while many family farmers find themselves on the outside of financial assistance to weather the President’s trade war.”
Wisconsin agricultural exports to China fell by 25% in the first four months of 2019.
Read the letter here.