The U.S. Department of Agriculture is in the process of accepting and evaluating applications from farmers affected by the retaliatory tariffs China has placed on American farm products in response to tariffs the Trump administration has levied on some Chinese goods.
It’s unclear how much of the $12 billion promised by the USDA will be available to New Jersey farmers, as the agency began taking applications for assistance last month and will continue to do so through mid-January. Farmers with income of less than $900,000 are eligible if they produce soybeans, sorghum, corn, wheat, cotton, dairy, hogs, shelled almonds or fresh sweet cherries. China imposed tariffs on these and other items earlier this year after President Donald Trump levied tariffs on solar panels, steel, aluminum and other goods imported from China.
If New Jersey farmers get this aid at the same rate as they get other farm subsidies, they will receive only a small portion of the funds. The state’s farmers got just $11.7 million in regular subsidies last year, with New Jersey ranked 42nd among the states in the total amount received, according to the Environmental Working Group’s Farm Subsidy Database. Just 8 percent of the state’s farmers got any subsidy.
Between 1995 and 2017, New Jersey farmers got a total of $281 million in subsidies, the data shows.
The amount that comes into New Jersey is a small fraction of the more than $20 billion the federal government pays each year in farm subsidies to four of every 10 of the nation’s farmers, including at least a few members of Congress. Most of the money goes to growers of corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton and rice. The government compensates farmers to make up for fluctuations in prices, revenues and yields. It also subsidizes conservation efforts, insurance, marketing, research, and other activities. Texas gets the most subsidies, $1.5 billion last year.
In 2017, most subsidies coming into New Jersey went to corn growers, $4 million to 537 farmers; soybean producers, $2.9 million to 307 farmers; and $1.6 million in disaster relief to 67 farmers.
Not surprisingly, the state’s larger agricultural areas received the most subsidies. According to the EWG database, these are the counties that got the most money in 2017, the amounts received and the predominant type of subsidy for the 1995-2017 period:
1. Salem County
It received more than $3 million, or more than a quarter of all the subsidy funds coming into the state in 2017, and $50.6 million for the 23-year period ending last year. The majority of the money was for corn subsidies.
2. Burlington County
Nearly $1.6 million in 2017 and $35.6 million from 1995 through 2017 went to farmers in Burlington County. Disaster payments represented the largest category of subsidy.
3. Warren County
Subsidies for Warren County amounted to $1.4 million in 2017 and $31.6 million from 1995 through 2017. The majority of the money was for corn subsidies.
4. Gloucester County
It got close to $1.3 million in 2017 and $28 million from 1995 through 2017. Disaster payments represented the largest category of subsidy.
5. Cumberland County
Farmers in Cumberland County received almost $1.2 million in 2017 and $26.1 million from 1995 through 2017. The most common subsidy was for soybeans.
6. Atlantic County
The total was about $840,000 in 2017 and $17.2 million from 1995 through 2017. Disaster payments represented the largest category of subsidy.
7. Hunterdon County
In 2017 the total was close to $623,000 — and $20.2 million from 1995 through 2017. Most of the money was for corn subsidies.
8. Monmouth County
Farmers in Monmouth County received about $329,000 in 2017 and $9.9 million from 1995 through 2017. Disaster payments represented the largest category of subsidies.
9. Morris County
Subsidies amounted to more than $308,000 in 2017 and $3.2 million from 1995 through 2017. Most of the money was for corn subsidies.
10. Mercer County
With the majority of funds for corn subsidies, the total was about $277,000 in 2017 and $8.7 million from 1995 through 2017.