So far American farmers have seen only 10% of the Billions promised by Trump

Donald Trump promised China would buy $50 billion from American farmers in 2020. That seems unlikely to happen.

Donald Trump promised back in January that American farmers would benefit greatly from his  highly touted trade deal with China. Now, reports show that promise may  be difficult to keep.

As of May, China had purchased just $5.4 billion worth of U.S.  agricultural product, despite a goal of at least $33 billion by the end  of the year, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.

Through the first five months of the year, that amounts to barely 10% of what Trump promised initially.

In December 2019, Trump made headlines when he pledged China would purchase tens of billions of dollars worth of agricultural products from American farmers in 2020.

"I think they'll hit $50 billion," Trump told reporters on Dec. 13 when the White House announced "Phase One" of the deal. "They've already stepped it up."

The Journal noted that the official deal with China set a goal of $33  billion in agricultural purchases, a goal on which China is still  falling behind.

That was after a decline of nearly $12 billion in farming income in the first quarter of 2019, according to Bloomberg, citing Commerce Department data.

Again, in January, Trump reassured farmers that the deal was a win  for them, claiming that the harm inflicted on them by his long-running  trade war with China would soon be reversed.

"You stayed in the fight. You were always with me. You never even thought of giving up and we got it done," he said in a speech at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual convention.

He claimed he would make sure China held up its end of the deal.

"I think it's going to work out and I think China is going all out to  prove that the agreement that we signed is a good agreement," he said.

The Democratic Party was quick to criticize Trump about China’s low purchase total.

"It's clear that Trump got played, and American workers and farmers  have paid the price," DNC War Room director Adrienne Watson said in an  email on Monday.

The deal is the culmination of a nearly two-year-long trade war  between the two nations that has severely damaged U.S. agricultural  interests.

From the time Trump entered the White House through the middle of 2019, farmer bankruptcies in the Midwest increased by 45%.

In Wisconsin alone, 10% of dairy farms ended operations in 2019, the largest decline in Wisconsin state history.

An investigation in early 2020 found that the trade war may have also contributed to a spike in farmer suicides in 2017 and 2018.

As a candidate, Trump repeatedly pledged to help U.S. farmers with  exports. "...We’re going to negotiate trade deals to help our farmers,  help them export their goods, and make money doing it," he said at a  rally in September 2016. "Because the way it is now, it's impossible...  and grow family farming in America. We're going to grow the farms."

Even in the middle of the trade war, which began in March 2018, Trump bragged about how well farmers were doing.

"Farmers are starting to do great again, after 15 years of a downward spiral," Trump tweeted in July 2019.

In August that year, Trump tweeted that "our great American Farmers know that China will not be able to  hurt them in that their President has stood with them and done what no  other president would do."

Trump later attempted to mitigate some of the damage caused by his trade war by spending more than $28 billion in bailout funds.

A 2019 investigation by Democrats on the Senate Agriculture Committee found that the  bailouts unfairly benefited wealthy farmers at the expense of smaller  and medium-sized farms.

A separate study by the Counter found that 99% of the first $8 billion of bailout funds went to white farmers.

The study found, for instance, that despite 14% of Mississippi farms  having Black principal operators, they received only 1.4% of the $200  million in bailout funds sent to Mississippi.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation. Attribution to Dan Desai Martin.