La Crosse, WI – Today, Rep. Ron Kind sent a letter to the Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue demanding changes to how the USDA distributes aid to farmers being impacted by the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China. Kind is urging Secretary Perdue to make these changes before the Administration begins another round of aid after China said it wouldn’t be making any agriculture purchases due to a new round of reckless tariffs implemented earlier this month by the Administration.
This letter comes after a study 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.
“As a result of the reckless tariffs implemented by the Administration, China has stopped buying products like soy, corn, dairy products, and cranberries from Wisconsin farmers and has made it clear they have no plans to make any agriculture purchases any time soon. Wisconsin farmers and their families are being forced to bear the brunt of this Administration’s ongoing trade war with China. said Rep. Ron Kind. “Now, when our farmers so desperately need the relief promised, we find out that the USDA is just lining the pockets of the largest farms, while our family farms in Wisconsin have received next to nothing. Secretary Perdue needs to make changes to his flawed distribution plans immediately so that those who need the aid the most are the ones actually receiving it.”
Wisconsin agricultural exports to China fell by 25% in the first four months of 2019.
In the letter, Rep. Kind asked Secretary Perdue to provide outline what changes the USDA would be making to ensure that the second trade aid package is effectively spending taxpayer dollars and ensure the payments will be provided solely to farmers facing the current difficult trade environment to export their products abroad.
Read the letter here.