In light of President Trump’s escalating trade war with China, the Trump Administration has quietly funneled millions in bailout money — which was supposed to be designated to alleviate the financial burden of U.S. farmers — into massive, corrupt international farming corporations.
According to recent reporting by The New York Daily News, in February, Columbia Grain International, a grain supplier owned by Japanese trading giant Marubeni, was awarded $203,000 in the taxpayer-funded, farmer bailout money.
The bailout was issued to Marubeni even after the organization was successfully prosecuted by the U.S. Justice Department for criminal violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which resulted in Marubeni being forced to pay $140 million in fines and penalties.
The payouts came as part of the 1.2 billion-dollar bailout program President Trump launched last year to aid farmers feeling the financial toll of the president’s ongoing trade war with Beijing.
“The President of the United States owes farmers like myself some type of plan of action,” said John Wesley Boyd, Jr., a soybean farmer from Baskerville, Virginia. “Farmers were his base. They helped elect this president…and now he’s turning his back on America’s farmers when we need him the most.”
On May 16, 2019, the New York Daily News also reported that the Trump Administration handed out more than $64 million in farmer bailout money to JBS USA, a Colorado-based subsidiary of Brazilian-owned meatpacking company JBS SA, which is currently the largest meatpacking organization in the world.
This comes despite the fact that Trump’s own Justice Department has recently begun investigating the Brazilian meatpacking organization’s owners — Joesley and Wesley Batista — after they openly confessed to bribing hundreds of officials in the Brazilian government.
Reuters also reported last December that the Justice Department had interviewed the Batistas as part of an ongoing criminal probe for allegedly violating the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
In addition to the millions garnered in bailout cash, JBS SA has apparently profited from the president’s trade war with China. According to the Daily News, the company’s exports rose to more than 24% in 2018, in contrast to a less than 21% export level set the previous year.
With U.S. farmers continuing to feel the heat from the president’s all-out, multinational trade offensive, many are left questioning whether their way of life will hang on until next year’s harvest.
“Trump says he loves the farmers. Well, it’s really not helping us right now,” said Jill Dice, a Pa. dairy farmer. “And I’m not political in any way…. We just need help so that we can survive.”