US farmers allege USDA distorts crop estimates to disturb Trump's re-election
USDA deliberately overestimates corn crops in the US as part of a conspiracy aimed at harming US President Donald Trump in the 2020 elections, Successful Farming writes.
"The USDA is a natural scapegoat and a topic of conspiracy theories among farmers suspicious of its sprawling bureaucracy, career employees, and its research that sometimes conflicts with what they see on their own farms," the message says.
Trump has faced backlash from agricultural groups, ethanol producers, and Midwestern politicians upset that his trade war with China has slashed export sales of U.S. soybeans and other crops. Also, Corn futures tumbled after the government forecast a big crop when a flood-ridden spring stalled plantings. Corn-based ethanol plants shuttered after the administration granted waivers to dozens of exempting oil refineries.
Grain farmers were already furious that corn futures prices posted their biggest drop in three years after USDA estimated a bigger-than-expected crop on Aug. 12, despite floods that slowed planting.
Wes Hitchcock, a corn farmer and Trump supporter in Sparks, Nebraska, wrote a 1,700-word paper titled “USDA vs. Trump” and has repeatedly posted it on Facebook in a grain market discussion group with 13,000 members, Successful Farming reports.
Hitchcock said he was unable to plant about 30% of the 2,200 corn acres he had planned to grow because of heavy rains this spring. The corn he did manage to plant is not looking great, either, he said.
“I’m going bankrupt and everybody else will this year, too,” he said in a phone interview with Reuters.
American farmers helped elect President Donald Trump in 2016 on hopes he would shake up Washington and turn around a struggling agricultural economy, but many of his policies have actually stung farmers, notably his trade war with China and biofuel waivers for oil refiners.
Trump’s approval rating was 71% as of Aug. 23, down from 79% in July, according to trade publication Farm Journal Pulse’s poll of 1,153 farmers.