JBS is the major winner in the USDA program for supporting farmers
JBS USA is the major winner in a subsidies program initiated in August 2018 by the US Department of Agriculture as a support for the pig farmers affected by the trade wars with China, Mexico and Canada.
The company has won more than 26% ($78 million) of the $300 million the USDA has allocated to pork so far – more than any other competitor in the US market, according to Ukragroconsult website. The USDA’s Trade Mitigation Program was announced last August and included direct payments to farmers, as well as $1.2 billion in food purchases from farmers and ranchers whose crops normally benefit from international markets. The plan called for $558 million worth of pork purchases.
"JBS bid an average of $2.56 per pound for 5-pound pork loin cuts, while its competitors bid an average of $3.80 per pound. The company bid as low as $2.02 for the cut. JBS bid 33% less on the contracts – undercutting its competitors, even Tyson Foods, the second-largest meat processor in the country" it is said in an analysis from Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.
JBS USA is the US division of JBS SA, the world’s largest meat producer. The company owns more than 300 live hog operations in the United States. In a statement, the company defends its position arguing that the participation in the program was serving the interest of its producer partners.
"We operate US pork plants, processing American hogs raised by U.S. farmers – the true program beneficiaries. Like other companies in the program, our sole intent for participating was to support U.S. producer prices and help our American producer partners. It was not a bailout", explained Nikki Richardson, a spokesperson for JBS USA.