The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is seeking disclosure of details on the taxpayer-funded payments to farmers through President Trump’s $12 billion program for growers impacted by the president’s trade war.
In a Freedom of Information Act request filed Monday, EWG asked that the USDA turn over the names and addresses of corn, cotton, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean and wheat farmers receiving the payments and how much each is getting. The petition said disclosure is authorized under section 1619 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008.
“Under law, President Trump and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue are required to make the details about these payments public,” said Scott Faber, EWG’s senior vice president for government affairs. “One way or the other, EWG plans to get this information so that taxpayers who are paying the tab know where their money is going.”
On Aug. 27, Perdue announced plans to spend up to $12 billion to aid farmers punished by retaliatory tariffs levied on U.S. agribusiness by China and other nations in response to the Trump administration’s tariff actions.
The Washington Post reported on Sept. 21 that USDA’s Market Facilitation Program has approved 7,851 applications for payments. This month alone, USDA has already sent checks for nearly $26 million to farmers, the Post reported
According to the USDA, soybean farmers stand to see the largest share of the initial $4.7 billion in payments through the Market Facilitation Program. China is the world’s largest importer of soybeans, and before Trump touched off his trade war with the country, roughly 25 percent of U.S. soybeans found their way to China.