USDA Terminates Smithfield Farm Aid Contract

USDA has terminated a $240,000 purchase contract with Smithfield Foods that was created under President Donald Trump administration’s agricultural trade bailout program. 

The decision was made at the company’s request, weeks after Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa commented on Smithfield receiving aid from the USDA that was meant to help American farmers hurt by China’s trade tariffs, reports Reuters.

“Smithfield requested to terminate their contract awarded under the Food Purchase and Distribution Program. USDA has agreed to the termination,” Tim Murtaugh, a USDA spokesman, told Reuters.

Murtaugh said the transfer of funds for the food purchase contract had not yet taken place, and Smithfield’s request to cancel the contract was received on Nov. 13.

President Trump’s announcement in late May to place tariffs on steel and aluminum imports prompted retaliation from top trading partners like China and has since spilled into agriculture markets.

To help offset the damage to American farmers, USDA rolled out a $12-billion aid package that included $1.2 billion in purchases of commodities. The program allocated around $558 million to pork purchases.

Smithfield is owned by Chinese conglomerate WH Group, the world’s largest pork processor and hog producer.

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