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 TrumpNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech On The Trail: Cuomo and Newsom — a story of two embattled governors McCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 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.