CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – A recent investigation of the USDA’s trade mitigation program showed that Brazilian-owned JBS USA had received 26 percent of the $300 million allocated for pork.

The analysis by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting showed that the trade program, which was designed to help farmers struggling during the trade war with China, helped JBS in the American market.

According to the report, JBS averaged a $2.56 per pound for 5 lb. pork loin cuts, while competitors bid an average of $3.80 per pound.    

In May, USDA numbers showed that JBS USA received more than $64 million in subsidies.

“We operate US pork plants, processing American hogs raised by US farmers – the true program beneficiaries,” a company spokesperson said in late May. “Like other companies in the program, our sole intent for participating is to support US producer prices and help our American producer partners. This is not a bailout. We are paid for the work of our team members in the plant and the products we produce, which are used to support important federal feeding programs that assist US citizens.”

Other companies that received USDA pork packages include Tyson Foods Inc., Goodman Food Products, Lakeside Foods LLC, Mistica Foods LLC, Chicago Meat Authority Inc., Proportion Foods, Seaboard Foods LLC, Calumet Diversified Meats Inc., Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. and Native American Enterprises LLC.

JBS USA beef recently reported $5.01 billion in revenue and pork revenue at $1.34 billion for the first quarter of 2019. 

Scrutiny of the farmers assistance program has continued throughout the process with some multinational companies having to pull their bids. In November, the USDA terminated a $240,000 pork payment with Smithfield Foods, who are owned by Chinese company WH Group, following criticism by Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley and a report by the The Washington Post.