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Key Words: Trump vowed to help small farmers, but here’s where the aid is really going

‘America’s farm safety net is broken. Instead of helping small farmers that have been hurt by the Trump administration’s trade war, Trump’s Agriculture Department is wantonly distributing billions of taxpayer dollars to the largest and wealthiest farms.’

It’s the “fat cats” who are benefiting most from President Trump’s taxpayer bailout to farmers hurt by his trade war, according to Anne Weir Schechinger, a senior analyst with Environmental Working Group.

According to a recent study from the group, “the richest of the rich” — the top 1% — received 13% of the federal payments, or more than $177,000 each. The bottom 80%, on the other hand, got an average payment of $5,136. Three of the “fat cats” received more than $1 million each, while 45 got more than $500,000.

This, Schechinger suggested, doesn’t line up with this Trump promise:

The EWG pointed out that the top 10% of recipients — the biggest and most profitable industrial-scale farms in the country — have received half of the $6 billion in aid given since August.

Read:Billionaire West Virginia governor’s family business gets taxpayer-funded subsidy meant to help farmers through the trade war

“The administration’s MFP policies stack the deck against small farmers in favor of the big guys,” Schechinger and her colleagues wrote, adding that, “laughably lax eligibility rules allow cousins, nieces and nephews and far-flung relatives living in cities, with no real connection to farming, to cash government bailout checks. Even Trump 2016 campaign advisors and billionaires are cashing in.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, in a statement cited by Bloomberg last month, defended the program, saying that the Trump administration “is committed to helping all farmers, regardless of their size, deal with the economic impacts of retaliatory tariffs and unfair trading practices.”

Related:Trump agriculture secretary says during Wisconsin visit that family-run dairy farms may not survive

The USDA estimates that the $14.5 million will help U.S. net farm income climb to its highest total since the commodity boom in 2013.

Meanwhile, on the trade front, Trump on Tuesday again turned up the heat.

“A China trade deal is dependent on one thing — do I want to make it,” Trump said at a London news conference. “I have no deadline, no. In some ways, I think it’s better to wait until after the election if you want to know the truth. But I’m not going to say that, I just think that.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture projects farm income in 2019 to reach $88 billion — the highest net farm income since 2014’s $92 billion, but 29% below 2013’s record high.

Also:U.S. stocks at record, but farm bankruptcies highest since 2011

Stocks were hammered in Tuesday’s trading session as hopes for a near-term reworking of U.S.-China trade terms appeared to recede, with the Dow DJIA, -1.31% down more than 400 points. The S&P SPX, -0.99% and Nasdaq COMP, -1.00% were also deep in the red.