Farm Aid loopholes

National

American farmers are receiving a new round of trade aid before Thanksgiving,as an end to the U.S.-China conflict remains elusive. But, not all of that money is headed to the heartland.

(CNBC) — American farmers are receiving a new round of trade aid before Thanksgiving as an end to the US-China conflict remains elusive.

But not all of that money is headed to the heartland.

Between a highway and a baseball stadium – sits this urban rowhouse. A single-family home. And headquarters of RLD Enterprises. Which, federal records show, received $18,000 in farm aid this year.

That residence. This post office box – and this townhouse in upscale Georgetown. Are among the dozens of downtown DC addresses

And thousands nationally – that have received a cut of the $24 billion dollars earmarked for farmers, to soften the blow from trade war, according to data obtained by the Environmental Working Group, a public policy nonprofit.

USDA says a person must be “actively engaged in farming” to collect aid but the bar is low.

Anne Weir Schechinger says, “People who are related to farmers or have some kind of shared risk in a farm can still receive a payment but they don’t actually live on a farm or work on a farm.”

Sue Swentner is one of those recipients. An attorney in DC by day, who manages a farm in Illinois on the side as a way to carry on her family s tradition.

She plans to apply for the next round of aid because every bit helps.

Other recipients of larger payments, like a sugar industry lobbyist, a retired real estate investor and an agricultural landlord, defended their qualifications but declined to speak on the record. RLD Enterprises hung up when reached by phone. USDA did not respond to a request for comment about how it enforces its own criteria.

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