Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

bean field

 The "great majority of farmers have gotten zilch from Donald the Dealmaker," the author writes. (Photo: StevanBaird/flickr/cc)

Just Who Got Trump's Farm Bailouts?

Rich families cashed in on over half the bailout money set aside for farmers hurt by Trump’s trade policies.

Jim Hightower

 by OtherWords

Donald Trump loves farmers. We know this because he says so. “Farmers, I LOVE YOU!” he declared in December. 

But he’s been “loving” them to death, with policies that are causing farm prices to tumble, miring our ag economy in the ditch and creating a rising tsunami of farm bankruptcies. 

Then came Trump’s doofus of an ag secretary, Sonny Perdue, who publicly insulted farmers by branding them “whiners” for daring to complain about policies causing them to lose income and their farms.

So, as an  “I love you” make-up gesture, Trump has been sending big bouquets of money to some of his beloved farmers. Our money. Lots of it — $28 billion so far in what he cynically (and comically) calls a “Market Facilitation Program,” otherwise known as a taxpayer bailout.

But Trump Love turns out to be highly selective, with more than half of the government payments going to the biggest farm owners

The Agriculture Department initially announced a $125,000 limit on the amount any one farm could get, but every Trump deal seems to have a gimmick in it to give a special break to the slickest operators. 

The slickum in this deal is that assorted members of a family are allowed to claim that they’re owners of the same farm and thus get bailout bucks — even if they do no actual farming and live in New York City! 

One Missouri farm family, for example, got $2.8 million worth of subsidy love from Trump, and more than 80 families topped half-a-million in payments. 

Meanwhile, the great majority of farmers have gotten zilch from Donald the Dealmaker — and 80 percent of eligible grain farmers (the smaller producers most endangered by his bad policies) have received less than $5,000. 

So Trump’s “market facilitation” is squeezing the many who are most in need, while helping a few of the largest get even bigger.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.
Jim Hightower

Jim Hightower

Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the books "Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow" (2008) and "There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos: A Work of Political Subversion" (1998). Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.

MSNBC Declines to Voluntarily Recognize Newsroom Union Effort

Organizers said that "we want to support one another and make this an even better place to build a career."

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·


Sanders Speaks Out Against 'Dangerous' Chorus Pushing for New Cold War With China

"Developing a mutually beneficial relationship with China will not be easy," the senator writes. "But we can do better than a new Cold War."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·


Indigenous Women Invite Deb Haaland to See Devastation of Line 3 for Herself

The tar sands project "poses a significant threat to water, Indigenous treaty rights, and worsens the global climate crisis," the group wrote to Biden's Interior Secretary.

Kenny Stancil, staff writer ·


After SCOTUS Upholds ACA, Progressives Set Sights on Medicare for All

Now, said campaigner Michael Lighty, "we can instead go to a system that will actually guarantee healthcare to everybody, which the ACA does not do and cannot do."

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·


McConnell Makes Clear 'All Republicans Will Oppose' Manchin Voting Rights Compromise

"The idea that Manchin can pass a law to protect the vote with help from the very people it needs protecting from is suspect at best."

Jake Johnson, staff writer ·