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GAO Report: Trump USDA Picked Winners, Losers in Trade Damage Payments to Farmers

WASHINGTON - The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office released a report Monday on the implementation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Market Facilitation Program in 2018 and 2019. The report shows that payments by USDA significantly overestimated the actual trade damages suffered by producers of eligible commodities, and that the calculation method USDA used in 2019 for payments to non-specialty crop producers resulted in higher payments for Southern farmers than producers of the same crop in other parts of the country. U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, issued the following statement on the report:

“This report confirms that the Trump USDA picked winners and losers in their trade aid programs and left everyone else behind. Making larger payments to farmers in the South than farmers in the Midwest or elsewhere, regardless of whether those farmers actually experienced a larger loss, undermines our future ability to support farmers when real disasters occur. I will continue to support all of agriculture through investments in infrastructure and support to farmers who suffer losses due to extreme weather, the COVID crisis, and other events beyond their control.”