USDA cancels trade aid payment to Smithfield

The Department of Agriculture has canceled trade mitigation program payments to Chinese-owned Smithfield Foods following industry complaints. Politico reports USDA canceled a $250,000 contract with Smithfield following public complaints that a Chinese-owned company would receive U.S. relief funds intended for farmers losing money from the U.S.-China trade war. Smithfield has requested that USDA terminate the contract and no funds have been transferred, according to USDA. The contract was part of the Food Purchase and Distribution Program within the $12 billion trade mitigation package. Iowa Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley was a vocal critic of the payment, saying he didn't understand why Smithfield qualifies for the funding that was meant to help U.S. farmers. Last month, a Smithfield Foods statement noted the company met USDA's eligibility standards, while pointing out the Smithfield is still a U.S.-based company employing thousands of Americans and that its U.S. meat products are made in its nearly 50 domestic facilities.

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