Global Markets

U.S. overpaid corn farmers $3 billion in Trump trade support

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According to a neutral government agency assessment issued Monday, the Department of Agriculture overpaid U.S. maize farmers by about $3 billion in 2019 for the effects of former President Donald J. Trump’s trade policies, owing to the agency overestimating the worth of their lost export business.

In 2018 and 2019, the USDA’s Farm Service Agency’s Market Facilitation Program delivered $23 billion in payments to farmers to assist offset the heavy blows farmers received as a result of Trump’s trade war with China and other major export markets.

Payments to maize farmers were nearly $3 billion higher than the USDA’s final assessed trade damage, while payments to soybean, sorghum, and cotton farmers were less than the projected trade damage, according to a report by the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The investigation, which was commissioned by the United States Senate Agriculture Committee, also discovered that the method through which USDA distributed payments resulted in growers in various locations receiving different payouts for the same crop.

According to the research, farmers in the South gained the most, while farmers in the Northeast and West received the least amount of money.

Farmers were puzzled and frustrated at the time, as were local USDA officials who had little training on the program and struggled to process applications and payments.

“We recommended better reviews and greater transparency in USDA analyses” going forward, the GAO said in a statement on Monday announcing the report.

Story by : Norvisi Mawunyegah