Brazilian-owned meat packer JBS S.A. will sell about 1.8 million pounds of pork products through President Trump’s bailout program designed to assist American farmers hurt by the administration’s trade war.
According to a report published Wednesday by the Washington Post, USDA will buy about $5 million worth of pork from JBS in the bailout program administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service to purchase surplus commodities from farmers and ranchers. The Post cited records and data published by the Agricultural Marketing Service.
The Trump administration’s $12 billion bailout program includes direct cash payments to farmers hurt by trade wars and tariffs, though the payments have stalled due to the partial government shutdown. USDA announced Tuesday the deadline for applying for aid under the program will be extended.
Part of the bailout program includes buying more than $500 million from pork producers for distribution to food banks across the country.
JBS S.A. is headquartered in Sao Paulo, Brazil, with more than 200,000 employees worldwide. JBS USA has 44 plants in the U.S. employing about 73,000 people.
Buying pork from JBS was criticized by Tony Corbo, senior lobbyist at Food and Water Watch, according to the Post. “Why is USDA rewarding another foreign-owned meatpacker through its meat procurement program after the blowback it received from purchasing pork products form Chinese-owned Smithfield?,” Corbo asked.
In response, a USDA spokesman said in an email to the Post, “USDA only buys American commodities, produced on American farms by American farmers. Approved vendors who choose to participate in USDA food purchasing programs, regardless of their business structure or domicile, provide direct benefits to U.S. farmers and ranchers.”