WASHINGTON – The US Dept. of Agriculture plans to buy 1.8 million lbs. of pork products from Brazilian-owned JBS, according to Agriculture Marketing Service records.

A report in The Washington Post stated that JBS plans to sell $5 million worth of pork through the Trump Administration’s $12 billion farmers assistance program for individuals and companies impacted by the ongoing trade disputes with China and other countries. The program includes $1.2 billion in purchases of commodities such as pork.

JBS USA and USDA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The National Farmers Union released a statement following the report.

“USDA should not be sending money – directly or indirectly – to Brazil, the country that has benefitted the most from the President’s trade wars,” said Roger Johnson, National Farmers Union president. “In fact, because of our strained relations with China, Brazilian farmers have received a $2 price premium on their soybeans compared to American farmers. The Farmers Union strongly urges USDA to reject bids by companies owned by JBS to receive money from the trade aid program. This money should instead be directed to the American farm families struggling with depressed prices and lost markets because of the administration’s reckless trade strategy.”

According to a Post report in November, the USDA terminated a $240,000 pork payment with Smithfield Foods, who are owned by Chinese company WH Group. MEAT+POULTRY’s Top 100 Processors from 2018 noted that JBS USA employs 63,650 people in the US and runs 44 plants domestically.