Farm bailouts unfairly favor Southern states



December 4, 2019 - 9:51 AM

Washington is one of America’s most trade-reliant states, so President Donald Trump’s ongoing trade negotiations have brought broad economic uncertainty. With agriculture the second-biggest sector of the state’s export market, it initially appeared the announcement of $16 billion in farm bailouts meant much-needed stability for farmers caught in the trade-war crossfire.

Instead, Washington crop growers have been given short shrift by the United States Department of Agriculture. A minority report of the U.S. Senate’s Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee in November showed that in the first round of trade-crisis relief payments, farmers in some Southern states have already received more than $50 per acre on average while Washington farmers were sent less than $10 an acre.

Additionally, the USDA calculated outsize trade damage costs for certain crops grown widely in the South — such as cotton and sorghum — compared to corn and soybeans, which are grown and exported here. Cotton and sorghum have not suffered from the trade war more than other crops. According to the Senate study, prices for both crops have risen.

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