US farm bankruptcies jumped 20 percent in 2019 despite federal aid

US farm bankruptcies jumped 20 percent in 2019 despite federal aid
© Rebecca Beitsch

U.S. farms faced a surge of bankruptcies in 2019, up 20 percent despite aid efforts from Washington.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump passes Pence a dangerous buck Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Trump nods at reputation as germaphobe during coronavirus briefing: 'I try to bail out as much as possible' after sneezes MORE's administration allocated $28 billion in aid for farmers affected by his trade war with China in the past two years, but bankruptcies were recorded at the highest level since 2011, according to the American Farm Bureau's study.

The bureau said there were 595 Chapter 12 family farm bankruptcies last year.


In addition to retaliatory tariffs from Beijing that hurt soybean exports, U.S. farms were also impacted by Trump's trade negotiations with Mexico and China.

"The trade wars were salt in an existing wound," said Kara O'Connor, government relations director at the Wisconsin Farmers Union. She said the spike in bankruptcies were "deeply disturbing [and] completely predictable after decades of farm policy at the federal level incentivized overproduction, resulting in plummeting commodity prices."

Trump's new phase one agreement with Beijing states that China will agree to buy $32 billion more than it did since the trade war began.

The Trump administration has acknowledged that phase one leaves more to address with trade with China, the administration says phase two will maintain billions of dollars in tariffs in Chinese goods to ensure Beijing keeps negotiating.

On Wednesday, Trump signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which Republicans estimate will add .03 percent to .04 percent to gross domestic product growth and create 176,000 new jobs.